Max Chilton dedicates Indy Lights pole at Iowa to ex-F1 teammate Jules Bianchi

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Max Chilton has dedicated his maiden Indy Lights pole position to former Marussia F1 teammate Jules Bianchi following the Frenchman’s death on Friday night.

Bianchi’s family confirmed in the early hours of Saturday morning that he had died at the age of 25 following a nine-month fight against severe head injuries sustained in an accident at last October’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Chilton was Bianchi’s only teammate in Formula 1, racing alongside the Frenchman in 2013 and 2014 at Marussia F1 Team before the operation collapsed towards the end of last season.

Unable to find another F1 seat, Chilton opted to switch over to Indy Lights for 2015 with Carlin in tandem with a role with Nissan in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

In qualifying at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, Chilton – pictured with Bianchi back in 2013 – recorded a two-lap average of 162.294mph to edge out Carlin teammate Ed Jones for pole position.

Taking to Twitter after the session, Chilton dedicated the result to Bianchi in a heartfelt message.

Chilton will be gunning for his first Indy Lights victory in the race later today at Iowa, which appears on the undercard of the IndyCar Iowa Corn 300, live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8pm ET.

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.