IndyCar: Points fail to shift too much after Houston doubleheader

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We try to examine the points in the Verizon IndyCar Series on a fairly regular basis, trying to track big shifts or changes depending on certain stretches of races (Here was points post-Texas Motor Speedway, points post-Indianapolis 500, points post-Indianapolis 500 qualifying).

As IndyCar begins its brutal run of six races in four weekends, the fluctuating weather and form of the field meant there weren’t too many changes from pre-Houston to post-Houston.

Points leader Will Power had one of his worst ever weekends in IndyCar, yet retained the points lead and same gap (39 points) to Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves.

All told, only one driver, Sebastien Bourdais, made a massive leap in the standings. The driver of the No. 11 Mistic KVSH Racing Chevrolet began the weekend 12th in points and ended eighth, after he was the only driver to score top-five finishes in both races.

There weren’t really any big losers, either, with several drivers dropping two positions from beginning to end of the weekend.

Anyway, here’s a breakdown of the 21 full-time drivers sit now leaving Houston, the second of three doubleheader weekends this season:

Driver		     TMS    HOU    Change
12 Will Power   	1	1
3 Helio Castroneves	2	2
28 Ryan Hunter-Reay	3	3
77 Simon Pagenaud	4	4	
2 Juan Pablo Montoya	7	5	+2
25 Marco Andretti	5	6	-1
34 Carlos Munoz 	6	7	-1
11 Sebastien Bourdais	12	8	+4
9 Scott Dixon		8	9	-1
27 James Hinchcliffe	11	10	+1
10 Tony Kanaan  	9	11	-2
19 Justin Wilson 	10	12	-2
8 Ryan Briscoe  	13	13
98 Jack Hawksworth	16	14	+2
83 Charlie Kimball	14	15	-1
7 Mikhail Aleshin	15	16	-1
18 Carlos Huertas	20	17	+3
15 Graham Rahal 	19	18	+1
14 Takuma Sato  	17	19	-2
67 Josef Newgarden	18	20	-2
17 Sebastian Saavedra	21	21

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
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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.