Verizon officially confirmed as IndyCar new title sponsor

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After weeks and months of speculation, INDYCAR has confirmed Verizon as new title sponsor of the IndyCar Series. Verizon now formally replaces IZOD, which departed at the end of the 2013 season.

A new multi-dimensional partnership linking sports, entertainment and technology beginning at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which kicks off the 18-race season March 30 (3 p.m. ET, check local listings).

“Verizon is delighted to become the title sponsor of the INDYCAR series and to bring even more of our innovative technology to the fans, to the teams and to the entire motorsports community,” Dan Mead, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless said in a series release.  “The intersection of racing and technology has never been more relevant, and our expanded partnership with INDYCAR provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate that synergy, integrate new services like LTE Multicast and help propel the sport forward.”

Added Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, head of INDYCAR’s parent company, “Verizon’s commitment to INDYCAR demonstrates its belief in the direction of our sport and further corroborates our long-term goals.”

The move is the latest enhancement to Verizon’s presence and stature within IndyCar.

Further details will follow in a teleconference later this morning.

Initially, Verizon entered IndyCar with Team Penske in 2009, as primary sponsor for Will Power for his part-time role. Power’s program was expanded into a full-time seat in 2010.

Some of the other areas of activation Verizon has gotten involved with is the Verizon P1 Award (pole position), the Verizon IndyCar mobile app, and with a presence on each car’s rear wheel guards (the latter began last year).

In some respects, this could have been seen to be coming with the gradual ramp-up in involvement Verizon has committed to IndyCar over the years.

For it to be formalized and confirmed, though, makes it more than just a perfect dream scenario: it makes it reality.

Here’s the new series logo below, and a link to a preview video below that.

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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.