Joey Logano thinks wreck will happen in ‘Dega knockout qualifying

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Could The Big One come a day early? Joey Logano believes that it could.

In order to keep advancing through tomorrow’s Sprint Cup qualifying rounds at Talladega Superspeedway, drivers will likely have to deal with the draft and the packs that they’ll see again in Sunday’s main event, the Aaron’s 499.

And Logano, the most recent Sprint Cup race winner,  feels that a crash is inevitable.

“I think there will be a wreck within this qualifying session just because [of] the closing rate you’re gonna be catching some of these guys,” said Logano this morning at ‘Dega.

“For guys in the middle of the race track and then you’re going to the bottom, he decides he wants to get out of the way and goes to the bottom – oh, shoot, you’re gonna get in a crash.

“So you’ve got to be on your toes throughout the whole session. I think as each session goes it’s gonna get a little bit calmer because obviously there are gonna be less cars out there.”

‘Dega will utilize the three-round knockout format. Round 1 will last for 25 minutes, and the 24 fastest drivers on single-lap speed will move on to the 10-minute Round 2.

The 12 fastest on single-lap speed from there go on to fight for the pole in Round 3, which will last for five minutes.

Logano said he intended to keep an eye on Nationwide Series qualifying (which goes off in about half an hour) to potentially gain more ideas on how to handle what could be a wild Saturday afternoon.

However, like just about everyone else in the garage, he didn’t know what to expect.

“I will say that we have a little game plan to work and try to make sure our cars not only stay safe but are able to go out there and post a good lap and just try to get through all of the segments,” he said.

“Our car is still the only car to get through every [qualifying] segment this year so far. That’s something to be proud of. This is the one real wild card because there’s a good chance the fastest car may not get the pole this week. That’s gonna be something very different. There’s a lot of strategy that’s gonna go into this.”

Excluding the Daytona 500 (which only has qualifying for the front row and the Duels to set the remainder of the field) and Richmond (whose qualifying was rained out), Logano has an average start of 4.1.

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.