Matt Wallace returning to ARCA at Lucas Oil Raceway

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After two months away, Matt Wallace is returning to ARCA for his second start in the stock car series and first at Lucas Oil Raceway.

Wallace, the son of Mike Wallace, will start in the July 24 race at LOR in Indianapolis after making his series debut at Toledo on May 17, where he finished 10th.

“I’m definitely learning,” Wallace said. “The way these ARCA cars handle is so much different than the straight-rail, late model cars I’m used to. When you’re driving a car that’s a thousand pounds heavier, it almost feels like you’re driving a truck with a trailer behind you when you get in the corners.

“I learned that you really have to manage your brakes. I’m got ’em too hot at Toledo and I found myself having to pump the brakes down the straightaways toward the end of the race. I thought we raced respectable. We’ll improve on it from here.”

Wallace, 19, will once again compete for Bill Kimmel in the race at the 0.686-mile short track, which he has never visited before. He says he has been using the iRacing video game to become familiar with the facility, which hosted Xfinity Series races until 2011.

He’s also relying heavily on the experience of his father, who won six times in ARCA, and ARCA legend Frank Kimmel, who has 80 wins in 26 years.

“I think anytime you come into a new series, you have to give the veterans the respect they deserve, on and off the track,” Wallace said. “You gotta give ’em some room while you learn to hold your own. It’s a careful balance.

“I need to learn from the veterans on the ARCA tour. Frank Kimmel is the Dale Earnhardt of the ARCA series, and he has a lot to teach all of us. Ultimately, you race someone the way they race you, which depends on how they race you.

“I need the experience in these big heavy ARCA cars to get to that next level. The ARCA cars have a lot more role through the corners. I’d like to run as much as I can with ARCA.”

Matt Wallace joins his father, his uncles Rusty and Kenny Wallace and cousin Stephen Wallace as family members who have pursued racing careers. Yet, Matt Wallace says there’s no pressure to live up to the family name’s legacy in the sport, which includes Rusty Wallace’s 1989 Sprint Cup championship.

“As far as that goes, my family never pressured me to continue the family tradition. This is something that I want to do, but they always left it completely up to me,” he said.

“But I don’t hang the Wallace name over my head. I’m grateful for it…I’m proud of my last name and what it’s meant to racing. Maybe one day it can help me in the door, but I don’t expect it to pay my future.”

Accepting this, Matt Wallace has a back-up plan.

He’s a sophomore at a community college not far from his race shop, working toward a business administration degree with the plans to transfer to UNC-Charlotte.

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.