Dempsey (leading) and Garcia (trailing) trade rides. (IndyCar photo)

Unofficial “trade” sees Dempsey, Garcia change Indy Lights rides

Leave a comment

There’s been a driver exchange in the Firestone Indy Lights Series for Houston, although not one that goes down as an “official trade.”

Peter Dempsey and Juan Pablo Garcia will both be racing at Houston after all, in the seat occupied by the other the first 10 races this season.

Dempsey moves into the No. 2 Team Moore Racing entry, with support from TMR/Global Tubing/ALS Association. He had been replaced at Belardi Auto Racing when funding failed to develop to support him for the last two races.

“Team Moore Racing is giving me the opportunity to keep my title fight alive, and for that, I will always be thankful,” Dempsey said in a release. “I’d really like to thank all of my team sponsors along with my personal sponsors for making this all come together.”

He enters the weekend fifth in points and still with a remote shot at the championship, at 35 points behind leader Sage Karam. His teammate this weekend will be Conor Daly in the No. 22 car.

Garcia, meanwhile, takes over Dempsey’s seat at Belardi for the final two races at Houston and Fontana. He will race the No. 5 International/Mapfre/Euclid Chemical/TVC + Latino/AutoShow TV/Belardi Auto Racing entry, the team’s third car alongside teammates Jorge Goncalvez and Giancarlo Serenelli. Garcia ranks eighth in points this season.

A season-high 12 cars are entered with the eight full-season cars (three Schmidt, two Andretti, two Belardi, No. 2 Moore) plus Serenelli (No. 6 Belardi), Daly (No. 22 Moore), Axcil Jefferies (No. 28 BHA) and Matthew Di Leo (No. 56 MDL) also racing the streets of Houston.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
1 Comment

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.