Report: Boston condo owners look to block IndyCar race in 2016

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For one weekend and one weekend only in 2016 – Labor Day weekend to be specific – the city of Boston will be the home to a Verizon IndyCar Series event.

According to the Boston Globe, a race on the holiday weekend is an inconvenience to condo owners in the area of the city where the event will be ran on an 11-turn, 2.2-mile temporary street course.

A lawyer for the Seaport Lofts Condominium Association sent a 14-page letter to Boston mayor Martin Walsh detailing its grievances with the proposed race on the South Boston waterfront.

The letter states the residents are worried about access to their homes, parking, public safety and noise.

“We wrote this letter hesitantly in that we’ve never had to reach out as we’re doing here for help, but there was no process here,” said Gary Godinho, a member of the condo association’s board of trustees. “We’ve got to do our own due diligence to protect our homes.”

In 2015, IndyCar held four race weekends on temporary street courses in Long Beach, Calif., St. Petersburg, Fla., Detroit, Mich., and Toronto.

The Boston race, scheduled for Sept. 2-4 of next year, was agreed to in May. Next year’s race would be the first in a five-year agreement.

The Globe reports that the race contract “requires city officials to help land a title sponsor and to pay for street improvements needed for the event.”

The report also says that the process of erecting barriers for the race would run from three weeks before the race, and that race organizers would coordinate with resident on how fence erection would commence.

But the contract between IndyCar and Boston is also at odds, the Globe reports.

David Lurie, a lawyer representing the condo group, wrote that the city’s contract is illegal because the city didn’t seek competitive bids, in part because the contract allows Grand Prix of Boston to extensively use city streets without paying any charge.

The Boston Herald has more on the contract and further negotiations for the event, which are being helped along by some of the same people who were involved in the city’s aborted bid for the 2024 Olympic games.

Mayor Walsh originally claimed the event would be “privately funded” but that seems to have changed since May.

“We’re still negotiating,” the Herald was told by Kate Norton, spokeswoman for the race and a former aide to Walsh. Norton’s consulting firm CK Strategies was part of the Olympic bid. “Some of these roads are under state jurisdiction.”

Walsh told the Herald he expects the the event next year to generate tens of millions of dollar and that “Anything we use we expect to get reimbursed.”

Writes the Herald:

The costs could include millions of dollars in police details and other security, as well as extra road paving to handle the noisy Indy-style cars, which fly at speeds of up to 180 miles per hour — or about 170 miles an hour faster than normal Boston traffic. The construction plans also include temporary seating for thousands of spectators, which would take about a month to build and then tear down.

While Walsh has been the main booster, much of the actual course runs along roads controlled by Massport, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority and the state Department of Transportation. In addition, the organizers are planning events such as a waterfront concert that would use public resources.

The MCCA is working on signing an event contract, which would typically give the authority a cut of revenues or fees in exchange for renting out its facilities and services, according to spokeswoman Rachel Weiss.

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.