(Photo courtesy Sarah Cornett-Ching Racing)

Sarah Cornett-Ching moves up from ARCA to K&N Pro Series East in 2016

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A year ago, Sarah Cornett-Ching was working as a master welder in the remote hinterlands of northern Canada.

Today, Cornett-Ching is one of the most promising young drivers in stock car racing, with a bright future ahead of her.

That’s why it’s no surprise that after a strong rookie season in the ARCA Series in 2015 – including finishing seventh in the standings (an ARCA record for highest finish ever for a female driver), Cornett-Ching is moving on up to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2016.

She made the announcement recently on her web site.

Cornett-Ching will run for K&N East Rookie of the Year honors in 2016. She’ll also continue driving for team owner Tony Blanchard and RACE 101 as they join her in the climb from ARCA to the K&N series.

Cornett-Ching will also compete in select races in ARCA, as well as the CARS Super Late Model Tour.

“I’m really energized about running in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series,” Cornett-Ching said in a release. “We raced a handful of events with them last year, I really liked how the races were organized, the parity of the rules package and what it offered me as a driver.”

The 24-year-old Summerland, British Columbia resident has shown great promise in her climb up the racing ladder. The K&N Series is the next step in her evolution as a racer.

“As my career continues to advance, I’ll be racing on some of the same tracks and with a lot of the same drivers and teams,” Cornett-Ching said. “Combine that with the added value that the NASCAR brand can bring to me and my partners (and) it was really a no-brainer (to move up to the K&N league).”

Cornett-Ching will kick off her 2016 racing season in the ARCA season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 13. The following day, she’ll compete in the K&N Pro Series East season opener at nearby New Smyrna Speedway.

“The K&N Series has a great mix of tracks and is a really good place to build my skill-set and improve my confidence as a driver, but ARCA still offers valuable opportunities for big-track and radial tire experience,” Cornett-Ching said. “Seat time is seat time, no matter what I’m driving.

“So to have laps around places like Chicago, Talladega or Kansas is extremely valuable, especially when I have an opportunity to move up to Xfinity or the Truck Series in the future.”

Cornett-Ching had five top-10 finishes in 20 ARCA starts in 2015. Now that she moves up to the K&N series, she looks forward to following in the footsteps of others who preceded her.

“So many drivers came through those cars on the way to K&N success, and ultimately the top three tiers of NASCAR – Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Erik Jones and so many more,” she said. “There’s a pattern there.”

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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.