IndyCar Driver Review: Sebastian Saavedra

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With the IndyCar season in the books and a limited amount of news to come since the season finale at Fontana, my MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and are taking a look back at the 2013 season just past. Chris and I each ranked our top 10 drivers and some of the biggest stories; now we take a look back at the field driver-by-driver.

P21 is last of the full-timers, Sebastian Saavedra…

Sebastian Saavedra

  • Team: Dragon Racing
  • 2012: 27th Place (3 Starts), Best Finish 15th, Best Start 10th
  • 2013: 21st Place, Best Finish 8th, Best Start 6th, 2 Top-10, 0 Laps Led, 17.7 Avg. Start, 18.3 Avg. Finish

DiZinno says: To me, something worse than being “bad” is being “anonymous,” and far too often in 2013, that was my word for Saavedra. The Colombian had made the canny and mature decision to step down to Indy Lights in 2012 and it did pay dividends when he got the promotion back to Dragon, albeit under controversial circumstances. And his qualifying out of the gate was stout, but there were precious other highlights. When you’re most remembered for your blue chrome paint flying off the car like confetti at Indy, or flipping the “double birds” at a competitor – as Seb junior did to Marco Andretti in Detroit – it’s not a great reflection on your on-track efforts. He earned a precious second chance this year, but a third will be harder to achieve.

Estrada says: After beating out Katherine Legge in bizarre fashion for the second Dragon Racing ride, Saavedra didn’t do a whole lot on the track to show why he deserved it. Among those that competed in all 19 races, he was dead-last in points and had the lowest average finish out of all of them as well. A decent run at Baltimore (started 19th, finished 8th) got him his best career result in IndyCar, but good days like that were few and far between for the Colombian during a trying 2013.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
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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.