Boston first responders to be hosted and honored at NHMS

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As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series prepares to go racing today at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the series and the “Magic Mile” will take time to honor the first responders from the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings.

Shortly before the green flag, pre-race ceremonies will feature a presentation of colors from the Boston Police Department and first responders that went in to help victims after two homemade bombs exploded near the finish line of the Marathon that April day. Three people were killed and over 200 people were injured in the attacks.

Three days later, Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier was shot and killed by one of the suspects connected to the bombings. Collier’s brother, Andrew, works in the Hendrick Motorsports engine department as a machinist.

HMS team owner Rick Hendrick has made a $5,000 donation in Sean’s memory to help the track host first responders for today’s Camping World RV Sales 301. In addition, a decal honoring Sean will be put on all four HMS cars (Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne).

Andrew Collier recently talked about the loss of his brother and how HMS has rallied around him and his family in a column that will be released in the September issue of NASCAR Illustrated.

“I started working at Hendrick Motorsports in 2008 and still can’t believe how awesome they’ve been in our family’s time of need,” Andrew writes. “If I need time off, I can have it. If I’m having trouble with something, they’re there to help. It’s very humbling. They’ve been absolutely phenomenal and I owe them so much after all this.”

“I’d like to thank everyone that is helping honor Sean’s memory in NASCAR and beyond. It means the world to me and my family.”

In addition, the New Hampshire Union-Leader reports that more than 2,250 free tickets for today’s race have also been given to first responders from last December’s school shootings at Newtown, Conn.

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.