Report: Morgan Shepherd, 72, set for Daytona 500 attempt

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He made history last July when he ran the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Loudon, and now, Morgan Shepherd wants to break his own record as the oldest driver to start a Cup race.

Shepherd turned 72 years old in October, and would beat his old mark of 71 if he makes the field for this year’s Daytona 500. Per the Sporting News’ Bob Pockrass and other media reports, Shepherd will attempt to qualify for the ‘500 in the No. 93 Toyota with backing from the Support Military Foundation.

The car is from BK Racing, but not owned by BK. Interestingly, Shepherd’s Loudon start came for in the No. 52 BK Motorsports Ford – a different team and separate organization, run by Brad Keselowski’s older brother Brian Keselowski.

The BK Racing team will field rookies Alex Bowman and Ryan Truex in its two Toyotas for the full season. By comparison, those two combined are only 41 years old (Bowman 20, Truex 21), some 31 years younger than Shepherd.

Shepherd has not attempted to qualify for the 500 since 2006, when he missed the show. He also failed to qualify in 1999 and 2005 since he last made the field in 1997, driving the No. 1 Delco Remy America Pontiac for Richard Jackson. He finished second to the late Davey Allison in the 1992 ‘500, driving for the Wood Brothers.

In 2007, James Hylton, who was also 72 at the time, attempted but failed to qualify for the Daytona 500.

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.