Marcos Ambrose temporarily removes himself from DJR Team Penske V8 Supercars entry

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In an unusual and perhaps surprising move, Marcos Ambrose has asked to be temporarily removed from his seat at DJR Team Penske in the Australian V8 Supercars series, beginning with the Tasmania race.

Scott Pye will take over in the No. 17 Ford Falcon FG X, with Ambrose set to continue to supporting the team, but not sure of his next race back behind the wheel.

“I appreciate the effort that Marcos and DJR Team Penske have provided over the first two events of the season,” Roger Penske said in a statement. “Following the Australian Grand Prix, Marcos came to the team, requesting to be replaced from his upcoming driving responsibilities, while he continues the transition back into V8 Supercars competition.

“Entering the season, Marcos understood that the competition in this series is at a very high level and now realizes that more time is required for this transition. This was a difficult decision for Marcos but I appreciate him thinking about the greater good of the team. Marcos will continue to support the team and our partners including competing in the Endurance Series Races.”

Ambrose added, “I want to thank DJR Team Penske for the opportunity and support through the process of transitioning back into V8 Supercars. I would like to make it clear that I am fully committed to this team. Although this is a decision which has been hard to make, it has become clear to me over the first two events of the season that I need more experience in these cars to do what is required of the lead driver and to be competitive for the team and our partners.”

Penske Racing president Tim Cindric had this to say on Twitter last night, noting Ambrose’ selflessness:

Ambrose won 28 races over five seasons and captured back-to-back V8 Supercars titles in 2003 and 2004, but had struggled in the opening four races of 2015. His best finish was 12th.

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.