NASCAR XFINITY: McClure to JGL, Gase re-ups with Means

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Eric McClure will switch from Tri-Star Motorsports to JGL Racing for the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series season, his new team announced Monday.

McClure will run the No. 24 Toyota Camry for his 13th season in NXS. The team itself switches from Dodge, which it ran last year, to Toyota for 2015.

Reynolds Consumer Products marks a 10th consecutive season as a series team partner and will serve as primary sponsor on the No. 24 entry for a minimum of 25 events. That includes the Reynolds Wrap and Hefty brands, which have been staples on McClure’s cars throughout his NASCAR career.

JGL Racing, with owner James Whitener and general manager Gregg Mixon, made its debut during the 2014 season-opening event at Daytona Int’l Speedway. The freshman team featured various driver combinations throughout the season for its two-car operation and, collectively, scored one top-five, two top-10, and three top-15 finishes.

McClure enters the campaign with a new crew chief as well, in Jay Guy.

On another NXS note that was announced late last week, Joey Gase will return to Jimmy Means Racing in the No. 52 entry.

“I am excited to be running the full Xfinity season again with Jimmy Means Racing,” Gase said in a release. “Last year was a record-breaking season for us with minimum funding.

“We successfully made both of our goals, which were to finish top 20 in driving points, and to keep the team locked in the top 30 of owner points. Our goals in 2015 will be to finish in the top 20 in driver points once again and to get the team our first top 10 finish.”

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.