Couple tough days for dirt racing: Kevin Swindell significantly injured in Iowa; another driver killed in Pennsylvania

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It’s been a couple tough days for the dirt racing community, with one serious and one fatal accident occurring at two of the nation’s most iconic dirt tracks.

Thursday night, sprint car star Kevin Swindell (pictured) was injured in a qualifying heat race for this weekend’s Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Speedway.

Per a USA Today report,Swindell’s car flipped and landed hard on its wheels after tangling with other cars. He was airlifted to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines.

Kevin Swindell wrote on Twitter after the accident, “Thanks everyone for the love. Long road ahead. Enjoy every minute you got.”

Father Sammy Swindell wrote an update on late Friday night: “Our son Kevin has emerged from surgery & we can confirm he has suffered a significant injury. He has another surgery scheduled for MON AM. We pray for his continued recovery. Thank you to the amazing staff at DesMoines Mercy. We will have an update Monday PM.

Kevin Swindell, 26, is a past Knoxville Nationals and Chili Bowl nationals race winner. He’s also embarked on a handful of NASCAR races in both the Sprint Cup and Xfinity ranks.

As an update, rising sprint car star Rico Abreu – who won this year’s Chili Bowl – will start-and-park tonight.

Meanwhile Friday night there was a fatality at Williams Grove Speedway, with James Campbell Jr. killed in a crash at the Mechanicsburg, Pa. oval.

Per the AP, Campbell was killed upon wall impact on the warm-up laps, and the remainder of the evening’s program was canceled.

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.