From double DNF in Texas to one-two in Toronto, CFH Racing bounces back in style

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A week is a long time in motor racing, but you needn’t tell CFH Racing that. After seeing both of its cars succumb to mechanical failures in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend, the team bounced back in Toronto on Sunday to clinch its first one-two finish in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Following the merger between Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing at the end of the 2014 season, CFH Racing has now visited victory lane twice in the past ten races thanks to Josef Newgarden, who became just the third repeat winner in 2015.

The result was made all the sweeter by a second-place finish for Luca Filippi, marking the Italian’s best ever result in IndyCar and also his first podium finish.

“Just an amazing team effort,” Newgarden told NBCSN after the race. “I can’t believe that we did one-two even. It got a little close with Luca. We were really just trying to keep up. I got a little bit of lapped traffic.”

After a dose of bad luck had left the CFH Racing team at such a low ebb at Texas, the stars aligned and handed Newgarden a golden ticket in the form of a full-course caution ahead of the first round of pit stops in Toronto.

With the rest of the field unable to reach pit entry before it had shut, Newgarden was brought into the pits for a fresh set of tires, allowing the American to catapult up the order when the rest of the field dived in.

Once Helio Castroneves pitted from the lead under the second full course caution of the race, Newgarden found himself in a lead that he would only lose temporarily through the final round of stops.

“I got lucky on that yellow,” Newgarden said. “It was a great call though – it was a great effort by this crew.

“They gave me amazing pit stops and the car to win. Luca is such a star too, it’s amazing he can get a second place. Super happy for the whole group.”

It was the team success that Filippi celebrated and focused on as well, even if he had been within a single overtake of a surprise maiden IndyCar victory in Toronto on Sunday.

“I’m very proud to be on the podium and to bring the Italian flag as well around here,” Filippi told NBCSN.

“I’m very happy. Normally when you finish second you’re always a little upset for some reason. But this time, I think a one-two for CFH Racing, it’s so good.

“Here, we had a close battle between me and Josef. It was hard racing, but we had respect for each other, and we are extremely happy. We needed a result and we got it done.”

As turnarounds in IndyCar go, it’s difficult to think of many better in a seven-day period than this effort from CFH Racing.

“I’ve been pretty down since the performances at Indy and at Texas,” said team co-owner, Ed Carpenter. “But we knew we had strong street-course cars all year long. The best part of it is that both drivers and both crews executed on the same day and we all get to celebrate together. … We kind of ended up on different strategies and each stand made their calls. We didn’t start together, but we ended up together at the end.”

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.