Suspended crew chief Parrott released from Petty team

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Richard Petty Motorsports has confirmed today that Todd Parrott, crew chief for the No. 43 RPM Ford Fusion of driver Aric Almirola, has been let go after he was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR last week for violating the sport’s substance abuse policy.

Greg Ebert, car chief for the No. 43 team, will now serve as the team’s interim crew chief through the remainder of the 2013 Sprint Cup season. Ebert has been in his car chief role at RPM for the last two seasons.

“We are confident in Greg’s leadership abilities and we will give him the resources he needs to be successful,” RPM vice president of operations/competition Sammy Johns said in a statement. “He is very familiar with our race program and gives us a more seamless transition. More importantly, he gives Aric the best opportunity to finish the season strong.”

Johns took on crew chief duty for the No. 43 this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, where Almirola finished 22nd in Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 500 after starting from the pole via posting the fastest speed in first practice (qualifying was rained out on Saturday).

As for Parrott and his future, FoxSports.com’s Lee Spencer is reporting via Twitter that NASCAR has confirmed that the championship-winning crew chief has been accepted in the sport’s Road to Recovery program.

Parrott won the 1999 Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup) title with Dale Jarrett at Robert Yates Racing, and has collected 31 Cup victories as a crew chief over his career.

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.