NHRA: Jim Dunn Racing names John Hale to replace Jeff Arend as driver of its Funny Car in 2015

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Less than a month before the start of the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, Jim Dunn Racing announced that it will have a new driver behind the wheel of its Funny Car, according to NHRA.com.

John Hale, a Texas native, will replace Jeff Arend behind the wheel of the 8,000-horsepower Nitro Funny Car. Arend drove for JDR the last two seasons.

“Our goal is to go out and do the best we can for our sponsors and fans, while making it into the Countdown to the Championship,” team business manager Jon Dunn said in a media release. “We’re looking forward to having John Hale behind the wheel to help us achieve those goals.”

Jon Dunn is son of team founder Jim Dunn and brother of ESPN drag racing analyst and former driver Mike Dunn.

Hale earned his Funny Car license in 2013 and appeared in several national events that season and in 2014. He’s a former two-time Nostalgia Funny Car champion and has competed the last few years on the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage series.

“When the Dunns approached me to drive for them in the 2015 season, I knew it was an opportunity I had to take,” Hale said. “The Dunns run a tight, family-based operation, and that’s something I’m really excited to be part of.

“When I’m at home or on the road with my nostalgia team, we are a family. All I know how to do is race with family.”

JDR plans on competing in all 24 NHRA national events. The season begins Feb. 5-8 with the Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif.

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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.