Ryan Blaney expected to be named to replace Trevor Bayne in Wood Bros. No. 21 Sprint Cup car

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One of the brightest young stars in NASCAR is expected to be announced Thursday as the new driver for the legendary Wood Brothers Racing Sprint Cup team in 2015.

Ryan Blaney, son of veteran Sprint Cup and sprint car Hall of Famer Dave Blaney, is expected to be introduced as the replacement to Trevor Bayne in the No. 21 Ford Fusion. Bayne is moving to a full-time ride in Sprint Cup next season with Roush Fenway Racing.

The announcement is slated to take place in a 2 pm ET press conference Thursday at Michigan International Speedway, according to Ford Racing.

Team co-owners Eddie and Len Wood and other team officials are expected to be on hand, as well as Blaney.

Reports have circulated that the 20-year-old Blaney will run a limited Sprint Cup schedule for the Wood Brothers next season while also running a likely full-time slate on the Nationwide Series circuit for Penske Racing.

Blaney is currently atop the Camping World Truck Series standings. In 21 starts, he has three wins, eight top-5 and 15 top-10 finishes.

“We’re focused on winning the truck championship this year,” Blaney said. “Keep growing this (program). Those days will sort themselves out down the road.”

Team Penske spokesman Jonathan Gibson told NASCAR.com, “Ryan Blaney continues to do a great job with our organization and we have a plan for his progression within Team Penske.”

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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.