Photo: Kruseman Motorsports

Sports car ace Chris Dyson returns to the Chili Bowl

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It’s always cool when drivers from different disciplines moonlight or make cameos in something outside their standard comfort zone.

Chris Dyson getting sideways in the Chili Bowl is no exception.

Dyson is a sports car veteran who is well known as both sporting director and driver for Dyson Racing, the team founded by his father Rob.

Next week meanwhile, he’ll be wheeling a Spike/Esslinger midget race car fielded by two-time Chili Bowl champion Cory Kruseman. Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff, one of America’s more well known tobacco-free smokeless brands, will support the effort.

“I’m very pleased to be representing Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff at the Chili Bowl,” said Dyson, who plans an expanded open-wheel racing schedule for 2016. “It’s a great option for people who want to quit or reduce their consumption of smokeless tobacco. I’m a big believer in Smokey Mountain and its mission. I want to help get the word out by getting my #16k running up front.

“It’s going to be a really competitive week with such a big entry,” Dyson added. “At the Chili Bowl you are racing against a ‘who’s who’ of dirt open-wheel racing.  It’s become a truly national racing event, with a lot of interest, and all the really good guys will be there. I’m proud to begin building my relationship with the Smokey Mountain folks on such a prominent stage and I’m grateful to Cory Kruseman for once again giving me a great opportunity in Tulsa.”

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.