PRN radio reporter Doug Rice to pull Memorial Day broadcast double with Shell support

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Andretti. Gordon. Stewart. Busch. Rice.

Rice?

Yes, Rice.

No, 2004 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Rice – who remains active as a driver coach and spotter for JDC Motorsports in the Mazda Road to Indy, and a spotter for CFH Racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series this month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – isn’t making a comeback to driving this week.

But Doug Rice, veteran pit reporter for the Performance Racing Network, is set to add his name to the four drivers who’ve pulled the Memorial Day “double” of the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600.

Rice will be in a firesuit, but not behind the wheel, for at least part of his Sunday.

He’ll cover the Indy 500 from pit road for the IMS Radio Network, then co-anchor the Coca-Cola 600 for tPRN from Charlotte Motor Speedway that same evening.

With logistical support from Shell Oil Company, Rice will be able to attempt what no other broadcaster in the history of the two major events has done.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time,” Rice said in a release. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, to be truthful, it’s been a dream of mine since Andretti pulled off the first double in 1994.”

Rice isn’t underestimating the challenge, as rather than roughly eight or nine hours of driving, he’ll be doing close to eight or nine hours of talking throughout the day.

“I’ve always been in awe of the drivers who were able to survive the impact of the double,” Rice said. “And even though this will be different kind of double, it will still be a challenge. I’m betting on energy and adrenaline to keep me going through the day in Indy and during the night for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.”

“We are very happy to help Doug and our friends at PRN make this happen,” added Heidi Massey-Bong, Sr. Business Advisor – NASCAR Sponsorship, Shell Oil Company. “This effort with Doug along with other activities taking place over the Memorial Day race weekend are going to help us showcase some exciting news for Shell.”

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.