NASCAR: Kurt Busch has a busy couple weeks of racing coming up

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Although the NASCAR season is over, Kurt Busch still will be the busiest driver in NASCAR the next couple weeks with his participation in two entirely diverse offseason events.

Busch will race this weekend in the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill, which offers a cornucopia of diverse, random machinery, and drivers in North America’s longest endurance race.

He’ll share the No. 61 BF Goodrich Road Shagger Racing BMW M3 with co-drivers Gavin Ernstone, Jon Morley and Robbie Montinola.

Busch has some endurance race experience; he has two starts in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2005 and 2008. But while that’s the formal kickoff to the season, this is a much more low-key experience.

Thunderhill occurs this weekend, with all NASCAR Sprint Cup championship celebrations in Busch’s hometown of Las Vegas occurring this week.

After Thunderhill, Busch will head to Barbados for his maiden voyage to the Race of Champions. He was announced at the same time as Williams F1 test driver Susie Wolff.

The Barbados event will see Busch, the 2014 Indianapolis 500 rookie-of-the-year, team once again with his month of May teammate at Andretti Autosport, Ryan Hunter-Reay, as the two American participants.

Busch was just in Monza over the weekend for a rally event.

While the last month has seen Busch in the news for reasons no one wants to see – an investigation has been launched into an alleged domestic assault against ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll – it will be better to see Busch in the news for what he’s best at, and that’s wheeling seemingly anything and everything he can get his hands on.

A hearing in that case will be held December 16.

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.