Indy Lights: 8Star officially confirms Hargrove for St. Pete opener

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8Star Motorsports has officially confirmed Scott Hargrove will race for the team in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires opener, as both driver and team make their respective series debuts.

Hargrove is confirmed, for the moment, for the St. Petersburg race weekend only. Enzo Potolicchio’s team has two chassis but is only racing one at St. Petersburg.

“This partnership with BC Pit Crew and 8Star Motorsports is a very exciting opportunity that I can not wait to make the most of,” Hargrove said in a release.

“It has been great to work with the team and the new Dallara IL-15. Our pace is very promising and we have no other intentions but to run up front and go for the win. The St. Petersburg Grand Prix is one of my favorite races of the year, the atmosphere is great and the track is a blast to drive. The Indy Lights series looks to be on a real high and I hope to be in the car for the remainder of the season.”

Potolicchio added, “We don’t expect St. Pete’s to be easy but we are confident in this partnership and excited about the state-of-the-art Indy Lights cars this year. Scott (Hargrove) has proven to be the real deal winning 2014 Rookie of the Year and series runner-up in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires Championship. We have a strong belief that he is ready to take on this new challenge and hopefully we can have him for the rest season.”

The Canadian is a two-time champion of other series, having won the USF2000 championship in 2013 and the Porsche GT3 Canada title a year ago. He came up just shy of the Pro Mazda title to Spencer Pigot a year ago.

The Indy Lights field for St. Petersburg figures to include the 12 cars that have tested at a single time this year, plus Matthew Brabham’s second Andretti Autosport entry (confirmed earlier this week) and at least one Team Moore Racing entry. Carlin Racing is yet to name a second driver for its team, alongside Ed Jones.

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.