A.J. Foyt, Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath swap helmets (VIDEO)

2 Comments

Situated in Alabama, Barber Motorsports Park has the ability to use the state’s rich sports history in order to help promote its various races.

The road course outside Birmingham has brought in Alabama sports luminaries such as Charles Barkley, Bart Starr, and Bo Jackson to be Grand Marshal for its Verizon IndyCar Series races in the past.

And for this year’s running, the honor has gone to Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback “Broadway Joe” Namath, who led the Alabama Crimson Tide to the 1964 National Championship – five years before he followed through on his guarantee of victory at Super Bowl III with the New York Jets.

As part of his pre-race rounds, Namath met up with another legend in four-time Indianapolis 500 champion and current Verizon IndyCar Series team owner A.J. Foyt.

The two swapped helmets, with Foyt receiving an autographed ‘Bama football helmet with Namath’s famous No. 12…

…and Namath receiving an autographed 1960s racing helmet trimmed in Coyote Orange and bearing the message “It’s hell getting old!”

Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing driver Josef Newgarden also showed Namath the technology behind the steering wheel on his No. 67 Honda…

…and then, the two joined with a chef from Taste of the South magazine for a cooking demonstration.

“To meet people that I was a fan of growing up, starting with A.J., is something else,” Namath told INDYCAR.com. “To see the young guys such as Josef Newgarden out there doing their thing surrounded by the teams…It’s amazing what they do in these super race cars.”

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
1 Comment

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.