Associated Press

Hulman Motorsports names police veteran to new safety/security role

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Hulman Motorsports, the parent company of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Verizon IndyCar Series, has named veteran Indianapolis law enforcement official Michael G. Bates as its new Senior Director of Safety and Security.

Bates comes to Hulman Motorsports after spending nearly 30 years with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. His most recent role was Deputy Chief of Police in charge of Homeland Security.

Bates begins his newly-created position within the company on Jan. 14. He will oversee all safety and security operations for IMS and the events held there, including the Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400, various concerts, etc.

He will also be involved with the IndyCar Series in defining policies, procedures and practices for public safety, security and emergency preparedness, according to an IMS media release.

An IndyCar spokesperson told MotorSportsTalk that this position is in addition to IndyCar’s current director of security, Ed Harris.

Working big events has been Bates’ specialty with IMPD, having played a key role in developing security and safety procedures for Super Bowl XLVI, several NCAA Final Fours, Big Ten Conference championships and NFL playoff games.

“Keeping everyone safe and ensuring a worry-free trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all Verizon IndyCar Series venues will always be mission critical,” Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles said in a release.

“Mike has been an outstanding leader of safety and security efforts for every major event Indianapolis has thrown in recent years, including the Super Bowl.

“He knows what it takes to develop and execute a world-class public safety plan at high-profile venues and he is the right individual to take on this responsibility for us.”

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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.