Revised IndyCar manufacturer standings make debut in St. Petersburg

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This was a bit lost in the shuffle this past week, but good on the Verizon IndyCar Series for providing a 411 primer on how the new Manufacturer’s Championship points standings work after the opening round of the season, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

A simplified 9-6 points system was in play each of the last two years, for the top eligible driver from either Chevrolet or Honda earning the manufacturer points. Chevrolet has taken both of the last two championships.

Now, with the manufacturer points awarded to the top five drivers overall, there is a chance for greater fluctuation race-to-race.

Here’s why: After St. Petersburg, Chevrolet leads Honda 122-72. Via IndyCar.com, here’s the breakdown:

Chevrolet (122)

50 – Points to race winner Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske
35 – Points to third-place Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske
32 – Points to fourth-place Scott Dixon, No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing
2 – Bonus points to Power for leading the most race laps (74 of 110)
1 – Bonus point to Power, Castroneves and Mike Conway in No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka car for Ed Carpenter Racing for leading a lap

Honda (72)

40 – Points to runner-up Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport
30 – Points to fifth-place Simon Pagenaud, No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports
1 – Bonus point to Takuma Sato, No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing, for earning Verizon P1 Award
1 – Bonus point to Sato for leading a lap

More points will come both at the Indianapolis 500 qualifying rounds and the three 500-miler race weekends, where double points will be awarded.

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.