Castroneves fastest in IndyCar’s Iowa single-lap qualifying

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One part of the IZOD IndyCar Series’ abnormal – or convoluted, depending on who you ask – qualifying format for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by DEKALB is in the books.

The series ran one-lap qualifying to set the grid for tonight’s three heat races (live streamed online on IndyCar.com and the Verizon IndyCar 13 app at 6:45 p.m. ET). The top six qualifiers automatically advanced to heat race three, with even qualifiers 8-24 lining up for race one and odd qualifiers 7-23 lining up for heat race two.

From there, the top two finishers in each heat race advance to heat race number three, and the rest of the grid outside the top 10 in the final heat is assembled by results from the first two heats.

So now that that gets the formula for how the grid is set out of the way, here’s the who breakdown from single-lap qualifying.

Texas winner Helio Castroneves set a new single-lap record at Iowa Speedway of 185.687 and will have the pole for the final heat race.

The rest of the top six automatically advancing include: Marco Andretti, Will Power, Tony Kanaan, James Hinchcliffe and Oriol Servia. Servia returns to Panther Racing for the first time since Texas.

Ed Carpenter and Scott Dixon are on pole, then, for the two preliminary heat races. Dario Franchitti (20th) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (22nd) were among those with poor qualifying laps; Ana Beatriz did not set a time.

ONE-LAP QUALIFYING SPEEDS, AND HEAT RACE GRID SPOTS:
1.  3 Helio Castroneves, 185.687 (First, Heat 3)
2.  25 Marco Andretti, 184.766 (Second, Heat 3)
3.  12 Will Power, 184.240 (Third, Heat 3)
4.  11 Tony Kanaan, 183.713 (Fourth, Heat 3)
5.  27 James Hinchcliffe, 183.236 (Fifth, Heat 3)
6.  4 Oriol Servia, 183.021 (Sixth, Heat 3)
7.  20 Ed Carpenter, 182.805 (First, Heat 2)
8.  9 Scott Dixon, 182.506 (First, Heat 1)
9.  55 Tristan Vautier (R), 182.472 (Second, Heat 2)
10. 14 Takuma Sato, 182.384 (Second, Heat 1)
11. 83 Charlie Kimball, 182.270 (Third, Heat 2)
12. 67 Josef Newgarden, 182.142 (Third, Heat 1)
13. 16 James Jakes, 182.056 (Fourth, Heat 2)
14. 98 Alex Tagliani, 181.963 (Fourth, Heat 1)
15. 5 E.J. Viso, 181.458 (Fifth, Heat 2)
16. 7 Sebastien Bourdais, 180.892 (Fifth, Heat 1)
17. 77 Simon Pagenaud, 180.481 (Sixth, Heat 2)
18. 6 Sebastian Saavedra, 180.016 (Sixth, Heat 1)
19. 15 Graham Rahal, 179.295 (Seventh, Heat 2)
20. 10 Dario Franchitti, 178.578 (Seventh, Heat 1)
21. 19 Justin Wilson, 178.240 (Eighth, Heat 2)
22. 1 Ryan Hunter-Reay, 177.957 (Eighth, Heat 1)
23. 78 Simona de Silvestro, 174.689 (Ninth, Heat 2)
24. 18 Ana Beatriz, No speed (Ninth, Heat 1)

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.