Pole sitter Logano overcomes loose race car, rallies back to finish fourth at Vegas

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Joey Logano was the rubber band man in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Logano started the 267-lap race from the pole, led 44 laps, fell out of the top 10 about two-thirds of the way through, then bounced back for a strong fourth-place finish.

It was his best showing in six career starts at the 1.5-mile, progressively banked Sin City racetrack. His previous best had been sixth in 2010 during his second of four seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing.

“It was hurtful, for sure,” Logano said of having to give up the lead. “Once we lost our track position there, it was so loose and so hard to pass. It was even hard for me to pass lapped cars out there.

“We kept swinging at it. Todd (crew chief Todd Gordon) did a good job making adjustments, swinging for the fence with this thing with spring rubbers, track bars, wedge, air pressure. Everything we could change, we changed. It still wasn’t quite good enough at the end to race with those guys. But we got the car good enough and had a good enough restart at the end to get it into the top five.”

Now in his second season with Penske Racing, Logano continues to show marked improvement. Not only did he make the Chase for the Sprint Cup (finished eighth), he’s off to a strong start in 2014.

He finished 11th in the season-opening Daytona 500 and has strung together back-to-back fourth-place finishes last week at Phoenix and again Sunday at Las Vegas, three spots behind race winner and Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski.

“It’s still a solid season for us, a couple top fives and the pole to start the weekend,” Logano said. “We have speed and just have to fine tune it a little bit better. Bristol is a good track for us coming up and we’re looking forward to going there.”

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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.