Engines fired at Chicagoland; competition caution to come at Lap 30 (UPDATED)

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UPDATE (3:30 p.m. ET): Engines have fired up. Let’s get racing.

UPDATE (3:28 p.m. ET): NASCAR has announced that a competition caution will be thrown at Lap 30 of today’s race because of the rain.

UPDATE (3:15 p.m. ET): Under cloudy skies, pre-race ceremonies for today’s GEICO 400 have begun with the invocation.

UPDATE (3:05 p.m. ET): The Sporting News’ Bob Pockrass has Tweeted that the invocation has been set for 3:15 p.m. ET, with the National Anthem coming soon after. Barring another shower, it appears we’ll be racing shortly.

The rainy weather at Chicagoland Speedway hasn’t been something out of Noah’s Ark, but it’s been pesky enough to delay the start of today’s first race in the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

The green flag had been set initially for 2:18 p.m. ET, but the rains had forced teams to keep their cars in the garages and fans at the 1.5-mile oval to break out their jackets and ponchos.

Shortly before 3 p.m. ET, the teams got the go-ahead to roll their cars out to the grid on pit road.

Track drying is currently underway at Chicagoland, but Weather.com is forecasting more showers for this afternoon and into the early night. Driver introductions took place at their originally scheduled time.

The ISC-owned facility does have a lighting system, but as detailed earlier today on Twitter by the Associated Press’ Jenna Fryer, NASCAR’s “Air Titan” system is not an option:

The Air Titan was deployed during this past spring’s rainy affair at Talladega Superspeedway, helping to dry up the 2.66-mile track in less time than conventional jet dryers would have.

The race would get back underway after a three-hour, 36-minute red flag delay, and was won by David Ragan as darkness began to fall.

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.