Technical infraction gives CTSC Daytona win to No. 48 Fall-Line BMW (UPDATED)

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UPDATE (8 p.m. ET): A post-race technical infraction has given the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season opener at Daytona International Speedway to the No. 48 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 of Shelby Blackstock and Ashley Freiberg.

The Turner Motorsports No. 96 M3, driven by Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana, had finished first after overcoming an early pit exit violation and an off-sequence pit strategy.

But just after 7:30 p.m. ET tonight, IMSA confirmed on Twitter that it had stripped the overall and Grand Sport class wins from the Auberlen/Dalla Lana duo:

No additional details have been given about the No. 96’s infraction that has cost Auberlen and Dalla Lana the victory.

As a result, all finishers move up one spot. Blackstock and Freiberg are atop the new podium, followed by a second Fall-Line M3, the No. 46 (John Edwards/Trent Hindman), in P2, and the other Turner M3, the No. 97 (Tom Kimber-Smith, Michael Marsal), in third.

Freiberg, who made her Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge debut today, has now become the first female driver to win overall in the history of Daytona International Speedway.

A third Fall-Line car, the No. 47 driven by Spencer Pumpelly and Steven Bertheau, had originally finished in third position but was also assessed a post-race penalty for failing to serve a pit stop infraction.

Murillo Racing took the ST class win in its BMW 328i, with drivers Eric Foss and polesitter Jeff Mosing in the No. 56 entry. Bimmerworld’s No. 81 car of Tyler Cooke and Gregory Liefooghe finished second with the No. 24 Autometrics Motorsports Porsche Cayman of Cory Friedman and David Baum in third.

Five cautions peppered the two-hour, 30-minute race, and it ended under yellow.

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.