Johnson: Hendrick team found faulty helmet cooling system (UPDATED)

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UPDATE (8:10 p.m. ET): Jimmie Johnson has confirmed that his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team has found an issue with the helmet cooling system he had during Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway.

After finishing eighth, Johnson needed help from his teammates to get to a mobile stretcher that took him to RIR’s infield care center. He received five liters of IV fluids before being released.

“Basically, it was blowing warm air,” Johnson said in a news release from this afternoon. “It’s nice to have a good idea as to what went wrong and why I got so hot in the race car.

“It’s a newer system that we’ve implemented, so we’re just going back to our old faithful system that’s worked for years and years. We should have the problem rectified.”

Johnson also said that he feels everything about his normal race routine, including pre-race nutrition, was “in line [at Richmond] and still do after reviewing everything.”

“Now after finding the helmet cooling issue, I’m confident in my plan going into races. We found the issue.”

Earlier today, a Hendrick Motorsports spokeswoman said that Johnson was feeling “much better” after his bout with dehydration at RIR.

In his immediate comments upon his release from the infield care center, Johnson noted that he “was warm at the midway point [of the race] and didn’t feel like my helmet fan was working.”

Johnson was to compete in a triathlon the following Sunday, but instead took that in as a spectator:

At any rate, the Associated Press reports that Johnson plans to fulfill media duties leading up to Sunday’s first race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup at Chicagoland Speedway.

As part of tomorrow’s “Chase Across North America” promotion, Jimmie Johnson will be in New York to appear on numerous TV shows, including NBC’s “Today” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” plus CNBC’s “Power Lunch.”

He’ll then join the other Chasers Thursday for Chase Media Day and the “Chase Grid Live” show for fans in downtown Chicago.

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.