Servia back for RLL at Indy 500 as field continues to grow

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Oriol Servia will return to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for a third time at this year’s Indianapolis 500, in the team’s second car alongside Graham Rahal.

Servia also raced with the team last year and in 2009. It will be his seventh Indianapolis 500 race overall, where his best start is third (2011) and best finish is fourth (2012).

“I honestly couldn’t be any happier to announce that I will be entering the 99th Indi­anapolis 500 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing,” Servia said in a release.

“There is a saying in Spanish ‘A la tercera va la vencida’ (Third time lucky) that I feel fits our effort very well. This will be our third attempt together to cross the most famous brick­yard first after 500 miles. The first two efforts were very promising and encour­aged all parties to go for it again with the most ambi­tious aspi­ra­tions.”

Bobby Rahal, team co-owner, noted the Graham/Servia reunion for the third time (Newman/Haas/Lanigan in 2009, and RLL last year).

“Having teamed with Graham before at Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and again last year, their setups seem to be quite similar so you can really take advan­tage of having a multi-car team,” Bobby Rahal said. “When we looked at who the best driver was to join us for the Indy 500, Oriol was our first choice. He’s compet­i­tive; he’s smart, has good race craft and brings it home.”

No car number or commercial partners were revealed for Servia; he was No. 16 last year.

Servia’s lineup brings the field to 28 confirmed car/driver combinations for this year’s race, and 29 confirmed cars (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda has driver TBD).

At least one more car/driver announcement will be made this weekend in Long Beach.

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.