Racing, music blend as Umphrey’s McGee partners with GTSport Racing for rest of 2015 PWC season

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LEXINGTON, Ohio – You don’t necessarily think of funkadelic, progressive rock when you first arrive at a racetrack, but you do occasionally think of different styles.

Things like different driving styles, different varieties and styles of cars, or experimenting with different setups or strategies, are all definitive elements of a race weekend.

So with that in mind, it serves as a perfect intro to the fusion and blend of Chicago progressive rock band Umphrey’s McGee and GTSport Racing.

The two will come together, as Umphrey’s will adorn Jack Baldwin’s No. 73 Porsche Cayman S for the balance of the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge GTS season, starting at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend.

It’s a pretty big deal and a great bit of news for the GTSport Racing team, for the series, and for Umphrey’s in their newest arena they’re featured at: racetracks.

This marks Umphrey’s first foray into motorsports, but you’ve probably heard them in several major mainstream sports arenas.

Umphrey’s has recorded the theme song for one of ESPN’s top studio shows, “Around the Horn,” and has also recorded for the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bulls.

Over a stout 17-plus year career, the band plays more than 100 shows annually and has more than 3.5 million downloads. They own their own indie record label, Nothing Too Fancy Music, and have recently released “The London Session: A Day at Abbey Road Studios,” where the band recorded 10 songs in 1 day in Studio 2 of Abbey Road.

“Umphrey’s is the sum of the parts, pulling from influences across a myriad of genres,” says UM manager Kevin Browning. “Many of those styles perfectly align with the high energy, fast paced nature of racing. We’ve been known to drop the proverbial hammer, and that’s something both music and race fans can get behind.”

Umphrey’s was first introduced to GTSport Racing at Road America at the end of June, but this weekend sees the band take over the hood and doors of the Cayman. (Photo below)

Photo: Tony DiZinno

“GTSport Racing is thrilled to have Umphrey’s McGee on board for the remainder of the 2015 season,” Baldwin said. “Their sound and energy is fantastic, I believe their involvement can bring a lot to the sport and motorsport fans will enjoy having a band to call their own.”

Baldwin enters the Mid-Ohio weekend on a roll, having won one race and scored four podium finishes in the last four races, and sits fourth in the championship standings. Teammate Buz McCall enters 13th in points.

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.