Montoya extends IndyCar points lead after fourth place in Milwaukee (VIDEO)

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MILWAUKEE – A year ago Juan Pablo Montoya was frustrated to finish second in Milwaukee. On Sunday, he made some lemonade out of lemons to end fourth.

The driver of the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet recovered from an early race drive-through, and then a late gamble to finish the race on old tires, to finish with another top-five finish and extend his Verizon IndyCar Series points lead.

“We pitted early and I was running third and I came for a stop and I downshifted and and I pressed the (pit-speed limiter) button,” Montoya said post-race. “I don’t know if I didn’t press the button hard enough or something and we got behind the 8-ball there.”

Montoya definitely enjoyed the race in the waning stages as he fought teammate Helio Castroneves, Graham Rahal and Scott Dixon.

“We do what we need to be doing. You gotta drive aggressive. Be smart when you need to be smart,” Montoya told MotorSportsTalk.

“I thought I could hold off Helio. Then Graham came and I thought, ‘I‘m not gonna waste my time on him.’ So I let him go. I thought it would be quick enough. The 9 car [Dixon] came and his tires were off, he couldn’t pass me.

“It was tough but it makes it fun. You gotta drive the (expletive) out of it, but that’s what they pay me to do.”

Montoya now holds a 54-point lead over Dixon with just four races to go. He had led Power by 46 coming into the race.

Unofficial points standings are as follows in the top 10:

1. 2-Juan Pablo Montoya, 439
2. 9-Scott Dixon, 385
3. 15-Graham Rahal, 370
4. 3-Helio Castroneves, 370
5. 1-Will Power, 369
6. 11-Sebastien Bourdais, 343
7. 27-Marco Andretti, 332
8. 10-Tony Kanaan, 314
9. 67-Josef Newgarden, 309
10. 22-Simon Pagenaud, 278

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.