NASCAR: HScott announces second car for Michael Annett

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HScott Motorsports will expand to a two-car operation in the Sprint Cup Series this year with the addition of second-year driver Michael Annett.

Last week, Motor Racing Network announcer Dave Moody had reported on his blog that Annett would be going to HScott and take his Pilot/Flying J Truck Stops sponsorship with him.

Indeed, the team confirmed today on the NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte that such backing would be with Annett, who joins forces with fellow sophomore driver Justin Allgaier.

Neither a crew chief or a car number for Annett was announced.

“We’re really excited to have Michael on board and looking forward to working with him, getting to know him, and putting some equipment under him that can really showcase his talent,” said team owner Harry Scott Jr., who added that his goal is to have the team rise into the Top 20 in Cup points this year.

“Having an additional car is gonna provide some economies of scale for us, and basically double our resources and double our data points. I’ve had multiple conversations with [Allgaier’s crew chief/team competition director] Steve Addington about his plan and he’s got a solid plan to make the best of having two cars this year and utilize our resources to get even better.”

Annett noted that as fellow rookies, he and Allgaier were initially parked together in the garages last year. But as Allgaier and HScott began to pick up the pace in the second half of 2014 (eight Top-20 finishes in Allgaier’s final 15 starts), Annett saw Allgaier get “further and further away from me to ask questions.”

That made an impression on Annett, and when a late-developing chance came along to join Allgaier and HScott, he took it.

“I think I got into the sport about the time [team owner] Harry [Scott] was getting into it,” Annett said. “And to see what every organization he’s come into – whether it was K&N [Pro Series], XFINITY, [Camping World] Truck Series – it doesn’t take very long at all for them to have success and I think we saw that last year with having a brand-new Cup team.

“To be able to jump right into an organization that I feel like was really on a roll last year and is gonna keep going and keep getting better is just a huge opportunity for me.”

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.