Report: Iowa president wants, and working on, IndyCar return for 2016

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The Verizon IndyCar Series put on another good show at what is becoming one of its marquee tracks, Iowa Speedway, on Saturday night for the Iowa Corn 300.

New track president Jimmy Small told the Cedar Rapids (Ia.) Gazette he is working towards a deal to make sure the series continues to race at the NASCAR-owned and operated track for 2016 and beyond.

“IndyCar is, hands down, the best race here. We want to keep it here. It’s a part of our vision to raise the overall profile of motorsports. I can’t imagine it not being here,” Small told the Gazette.

“This race, this series is really important to have here for a number of reasons.”

Iowa’s date was moved back a week this year and while it has still had a number of different dates since its first running in 2007, it has traditionally been in the same spot on the overall IndyCar calendar.

The race was held after June 20 each of the first seven runnings through 2013 before it shifted to July last year, a week before the Toronto round.

Thinking ahead to 2016, Toronto would be due to move back to its mid-July date after a one-year exception to move to June this year, because of the Pan-Am Games.

That would likely affect Iowa’s date, but not by much. It could fall in mid-July as this year, or, if the Auto Club Speedway date was moved back to the fall, Iowa could go back to its traditional late June date.

Either way, this is an event INDYCAR needs to keep, and the track wants to keep, provided it makes business sense.

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.