WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 pm ET — Darian Grubb returns, Trent Owens, NASCAR’s top pit crews

Leave a comment

NASCAR America is nationwide today, as we follow all 16 Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers on a massive media blitz from one coast to the other.

Among the highlights of the trip, where every driver visits a different North American city, was an appearance by six-time and defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson this morning on the TODAY show.

Back in our Charlotte studios, Rick Allen and Kyle Petty hold down the fort as we look at some of the other highlight’s on today’s edition of NASCAR America:

* Kelli Stavast traveled to the Joe Gibbs Racing shop in Huntersville, N.C., to chat with Darian Grubb, crew chief of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin. Grubb returns atop the pit box this weekend in the Chase opener at Chicagoland following a six-race suspension levied after the Brickyard 400.

* Natalie Sather visited the Richard Petty Motorsports shop in Concord, N.C., to chat with Chase driver Aric Almirola’s crew chief, Trent Owens, about the No. 43 team’s underdog chances in this year’s playoffs.

* Marty Snider sits down with longtime NASCAR pit crew member Mark “Hollywood” Armstrong to get his top 5 pit crews in NASCAR right now – and one of them is brand new!

* Parker Kligerman uses the NBC iRacing Simulator to demonstrate the best away around this weekend’s host track, Chicagoland Speedway.

If you’re not near a TV, you can CLICK HERE to stream NASCAR AMERICA online and on your mobile device through NBC Sports Live Extra.

If you plan to stream, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified. Once you plug those pieces of information in, you’ll have access to the stream.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.