Shea Holbrook gears up to defend “Fireball Run” title

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One of the more unique racing-related events is “Fireball Run,” an eight-day, 2,500-mile rally across America’s western states done for a good cause – to help raise awareness for America’s missing children.

Professional racecar driver Shea Holbrook, of Groveland, Fla., is back to defend her Sedan class title in the event this year with longtime friend Tarah Mikacich, a professional wakeboarder. Holbrook drives and manages her own team in the Pirelli World Challenge sports car championship.

An intense pink-and-white livery will adorn the pair’s 2013 Honda Civic Si courtesy of HendrickHonda.com and HendrickCars.com, with support from partners TrueCar, Lucas Oil, Sportique Brands, K&N Filters and BeatByAGirl.org.

In an era where technology is so prevalent, in terms of GPS and other apps available to help driving, Holbrook will have to rely on some “old school” technology – maps and an atlas – to help complete the rally.

“This year I’m particularly excited because our route goes through awesome geographical areas!” she said. “It will definitely be a test as we’ve been told to have an atlas and they’re recommending a CV radio to communicate with other teams (that’s if you make alliances!) So, I believe the teams will be relying more off each other this time around and let’s face it, in this game you have to watch your back!”

The first few days will be in Colorado, with the race starting in Longmont. Colorado has been through some devastating floods recently and Holbrook hopes this rally can provide a positive jolt of energy to the community.

“The start will be very interesting this year. Recently, there’s been terrible flooding in our starting location, Longmont, CO,” she said. “Fireball Run brings good in many ways and is economically great for the towns we go through. I hope we can help Longmont get back on their feet and dry that town out!”

Local supporters, fans and media are welcome to meet the teams at each destination and fans nationwide can follow the adventure LIVE on FireballRun.com/LIVE beginning Friday September 20.

Further information on Holbrook’s 2013 “Fireball Run” effort can be found here via the Pirelli World Challenge website. A recap of her 2012 experience is linked here in this RACER magazine blog entry.

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.