Lee Petty, Harry Gant to be inducted into NC Motorsports Hall of Fame’s Walk of Fame

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NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty and fellow racing great Harry Grant will be inducted into the North Carolina Motorsports Hall of Fame’s Walk of Fame on Oct. 8, the Mooresville, N.C.-based Hall announced.

In-ground plaques immortalizing the two former NASCAR stars will be unveiled, the fifth straight year that the Hall has inducted racing greats into the Walk, according to National Speed Sport News.

A native of Randleman, N.C., who passed away in 2000 at the age of 86, Lee Petty won 54 races in his 16-year NASCAR career, including the first Daytona 500 in 1959. He will be represented for induction by son, fellow NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty.

Gant, of Taylorsville, N.C., won 18 races in a 15-year Sprint Cup career. But the nicknamed “Handsome Harry” also won more than 300 NASCAR sportsman races and three championships.

Gant, who will attend the induction with his family, holds the record for being the oldest driver to ever win a Sprint Cup race (52 years old, 1992 Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway).

“I am very pleased to be able to resume our celebration of the rich racing history here in North Carolina and specifically in Mooresville,” said Hall chairman and longtime Penske Racing executive Don Miller. “Mooresville is the absolute center of the sport of auto racing and the home of many of its famous personalities. We need to preserve this heritage.”

The festivities will be held outside the Charles Mack Citizen Center on the Walk of Fame, located at 215 N. Main St. in historic downtown Mooresville, from 4-5 pm ET. The public is invited.

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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.