Ominous skies over Astrodome (Tony DiZinno)

IndyCar Race 2 qualifying canceled due to rain; field set by entrant points (UPDATED)

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UPDATE, 11:47 a.m. ET: Minutes ago, INDYCAR announced a correction on its part regarding the grid for Race 2 of the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.

According to Rule 8.1.10.1 B of the IZOD IndyCar Series rule book, in the event of a cancellation of qualifying, the starting field will be set by the entrant points going into the event – which, in Houston’s case, means the entire weekend, not individual races.

As a result, it will be Helio Castroneves – not Scott Dixon – that will start today’s 90-lap race on the pole in his No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet. Going into the Houston weekend (and, obviously, before Saturday’s Race 1), Castroneves’ No. 3 car led, 486-452, in entrants’ points over Dixon’s No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Here’s your new starting lineup for today’s event:

IZOD IndyCar Series – Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Race 2
Official Starting Lineup

Row 1
3-Helio Castroneves

9-Scott Dixon

Row 2
77-Simon Pagenaud
25-Marco Andretti

Row 3
1-Ryan Hunter-Reay
19-Justin Wilson

Row 4
10-Dario Franchitti
27-James Hinchcliffe

Row 5
12-Will Power
83-Charlie Kimball

Row 6
11-Tony Kanaan
5-E.J. Viso

Row 7
7-Sebastien Bourdais
67-Josef Newgarden

Row 8
14-Takuma Sato
18-Mike Conway

Row 9
78-Simona de Silvestro
20-Ed Carpenter

Row 10
15-Graham Rahal
16-James Jakes

Row 11
4-Oriol Servia
55-Tristan Vautier (R)

Row 12
98-Luca Filippi
6-Sebastian Saavedra

ORIGINAL, 10:00 a.m. ET: After two days of unrelenting heat and humidity, now there’s been another monkey wrench thrown into this weekend’s Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston IndyCar doubleheader: a 20-degree temperature drop and persistent rain.

The qualifying for the second race of the weekend and 18th of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season is on an indefinite hold due to the rain and track conditions not allowing the water to drain that well.

Pace cars have been sent out to survey the circuit. A USF2000 race and Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTS race are scheduled before the IndyCar TV window and race, beginning at 1 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

We’ll update things as we hear further developments.

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.