Sunoco inks 10-year sponsorship agreement with NHRA

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The National Hot Rod Association is set to receive a big boost starting next year when major fuel company Sunoco gets on board as an official sponsor of North America’s top drag racing organization.

Already heavily involved in both NASCAR and IndyCar, Sunoco will become the official racing fuel of the NHRA as part of the 10-year agreement.

Additionally – and just as important – Sunoco will carry out a broad activation plan that includes television spots, additional digital presence, and on-site and consumer/retail promotions.

“The fuel supplier is one of the most integral partnerships that a racing sanctioning body can have,” NHRA president Tom Compton said in a statement. “We’ve had great partners in the past, however, Sunoco not only will provide our racers quality products but our companies will be great marketing partners to increase awareness of NHRA drag racing and the Sunoco brand.”

“Motorsports and the manufacturing of performance fuels are in Sunoco’s DNA,” Sunoco president/CEO Bob Owens added. “Our partnership with the NHRA represents our dedication to performance at the highest levels of racing and will carry over to the fuels that consumers put in their street vehicles.”

Sunoco will serve as the exclusive on-site gasoline and nitromethane supplier for all NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series national events.

Its gasoline will also be the spec racing gasoline for the Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle categories at national events, as well as for Competition Eliminator categories both nationally and in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.

“Partnering with the NHRA is another step forward in our goal to bring Sunoco performance fuels to every level of racing, from grassroots drivers and riders to drivers competing in all premiere professional series,” Sunoco GM of performance products/automotive events Rob Marro said.

“Our commitment to our partners within the sport, along with our promise to produce and manufacture only the highest quality product, has allowed us to fuel hundreds of sanctioning bodies, local tracks and engine builders for the past five decades.”

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.