Ryan Hunter-Reay to get Race of Champions encore

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The Race of Champions, an all-star race of drivers from around the world, is set to return this year after a one-year hiatus when it was meant to be held in Bangkok. It will be held Dec. 13-14 at the Bushy Park Circuit in Barbados.

One of the drivers coming back is 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, who returns this year to represent IndyCar on the strength of his Indianapolis 500 victory.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be returning to the Race of Champions for the second time,” Hunter-Reay said in a release. “My first ROC in Bangkok was an amazing experience, going head-to-head with some of the best drivers from every different motor sport discipline from around the world.”

The ROC features drivers from all different types of motorsports disciplines in a head-to-head knockout competition in a variety of equally-matched vehicles. Hunter-Reay is the third driver confirmed for ROC along with Formula One driver Romain Grosjean, the winner of the event when it was last held in 2012, and sports car legend Tom Kristensen.

“It’s great news that Ryan is coming back to the Race of Champions,” ROC organizer Fredrik Johnsson said. “This year’s Indianapolis 500 was a true classic and Ryan did brilliantly to hold off his rivals by such a tiny margin after that thrilling dice to the checkered flag. We can now look forward to seeing Ryan take on greats from all over the world of motorsport in December. He’s right at the top of his game and now that he’s already had a taste of the ROC machinery he’s sure to be a big threat to all the other drivers.”

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.