NASCAR could have its 10th winner of 2014 this Sunday in Charlotte

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The full, detailed statistical breakdown of who’s done what in the Coca-Cola 600 was done yesterday. Meanwhile, here’s five drivers who could use a win, are past Charlotte winners, and with a win Sunday night would become the 10th different winner of this young NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, in just 12 races.

JIMMIE JOHNSON

Quite honestly the 48 team, although they’ve ran well, have been just a fraction off the 24 team this season. Still, you can’t expect to hold an old dog and Mr. Six-Time down forever. Jimmie Johnson has six past Charlotte race wins, including a run of four in a row in 2004 and 2005, but has won only once at Charlotte Motor Speedway since the track’s 2006 repave. But would a win by the 48 – does a win by the 48 – ever really surprise? The answer to that is no.

KASEY KAHNE

Johnson’s teammate at Hendrick Motorsports traditionally sees his up-and-down season starts come good at CMS, as Kahne has three past Coca-Cola 600 victories and a fourth for good measure in the fall race. He ran well in Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race before an accident and usually has the right balance on his No. 5 Chevrolet to nail conditions both in the day and into the night.

MATT KENSETH

A win for Kenseth, who’s second in the points entering the weekend, would be only his third at Charlotte (2000 Coca-Cola 600, 2011 fall), and his first Charlotte win with Joe Gibbs Racing. For as well as JGR did at the 1.5-milers in 2013, they haven’t measured up so far this year, and as a team, JGR hasn’t won at Charlotte since Tony Stewart won the 2003 fall race.

CLINT BOWYER

Bowyer won Friday night’s Sprint Showdown, and his last points win came here in the 2012 fall race. Given his roll of good news lately (new baby, new contract), it would be hard to begrudge Bowyer getting his first win in a year and a half.

JAMIE MCMURRAY

The winner of Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race was a popular and humble one. He has two past points wins at Charlotte (his first career win, fall 2002 and also fall 2010) but has never won the ‘600. If he does, he’ll be the first driver to win both the All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 in the same year since Kurt Busch in 2010.

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.