NASCAR: Corey Lajoie to make Cup debut; ARCA’s Boston to drive 2 N’Wide races for Gibbs

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Richard Petty Motorsports development driver Corey Lajoie (pictured, celebrating his 2013 ARCA win at Chicagoland Speedway) will be making his Sprint Cup debut this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the small Randy Humphrey Racing team.

RPM has not been able to generate sponsorship to run the son of two-time Nationwide Series champion Randy Lajoie often in 2014. He’s only competed in one Nationwide race and two Camping World Truck Series races this season.

“I’ve got to make my own path,’’ Lajoie said to Motor Racing Network’s Dustin Long. “Maybe start from the bottom and work my way up.

“I thought I would be in this point four years ago, but God’s plans are always going to prevail and you’ve got to go along with it and trust that it is the right one.’’

Randy Humphrey Racing recently gave Red Bull Global Rallycross pilot Nelson Piquet Jr. his first Sprint Cup ride last month at Watkins Glen.

Lajoie won three times in five ARCA starts last year, including the aforementioned Chicagoland win and two more at Pocono and Kentucky.

Speaking of Kentucky, that’s where current ARCA driver Justin Boston will be making his Nationwide debut this weekend. And he’ll have a solid ride under him, too.

Boston will drive the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in Saturday’s race at Kentucky and also in next weekend’s Nationwide race at Dover International Speedway. Sprint Cup driver Matt Kenseth has driven the majority of this year’s Nationwide events in the No. 20 car.

“Our goals are to compete and run all the laps in both of our Nationwide Series starts, plain and simple,” said Boston in a release. “As far as being anxious, it hasn’t really hit me yet.

“If anything, knowing that I get to work with everyone on the No. 20 team is reassuring since they’re such a strong team and I’m excited to see what we can do together.”

Boston has won twice this year in the ARCA series at Toledo and Madison.

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.