Steak ‘n Shake expands primary sponsorship to Pocono, Sonoma for Rahal

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Graham Rahal has called Steak ‘n Shake his “good luck charm” in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season, and that charm will be with him to finish it out as he and the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team go for a championship.

The company’s initial six-race primary sponsorship deal (Long Beach, both Indianapolis, both Detroit and Mid-Ohio) has now expanded to the final two races of the year at Pocono Raceway at Sonoma Raceway respectively the next two weeks. It had maintained associate sponsorship status in the races it hasn’t been on board as primary.

“The excitement and support of Steak ‘n Shake’s involvement with the team and Indy car racing has exceeded my wildest expectations,” team co-owner Bobby Rahal said in a release.

“I said when we first announced the partnership that it was our goal to put them in Victory Lane and we have been able to do that two times this season and finish on the podium a series-high six times overall so far.

“I’m very happy they have extended their relationship with us to include primary sponsorship at Pocono and Sonoma where we hope to bring them more success and hopefully a championship.”

The amount of content – and buzz – generated by Steak ‘n Shake’s involvement in IndyCar this season has been a good thing for all parties. Graham Rahal has made no secret of that fact, including during the post-race press conference following his win at Mid-Ohio.

“Those guys, I feel like they’re the good luck charm. Steak ‘n Shake came on this year, and I don’t know, things just started to click,” Rahal said at Mid-Ohio.

“You know, like particularly here, this race, having that sponsor is pretty cool for me because I used to go Steak ‘N Shake over here all the time when I was a kid with all my buddies, in my teen years, causing a lot of trouble. So it’s pretty cool to kind of come full circle.

“We’d like them to continue for next year. We really want to build this team and continue. I don’t have a contract with this team, but I don’t plan on going anywhere. I mean, I feel like who’s better?  You know, that’s kind of where I’m at.”

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.