Motorsports Hall of Fame of America reveals finalists for 2016 Class

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The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America on Wednesday announced the finalists for the 2016 induction class.

A number of motorsports luminaries are under consideration, including from the worlds of open-wheel racing, drag racing, stock car racing, the historic category and motorcycle racing.

The seven inductees will be named Friday. The museum has previously been based in Novi and Detroit, Michigan, but has relocated and is slated to open near Daytona International Speedway in central Florida in the near future.

Here’s a breakdown of those who are in the running for the prestigious inclusion into the Hall:

Open-wheel racing: two-time Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon, 1998 Indy 500 winner Eddie Cheever, veteran driver and official Wally Dallenbach Sr., 11-time IndyCar Series winning owner Chip Ganassi, innovative designer and safety pioneer Ted Halibrand and 3-time Indy 500 winning owner Pat Patrick.

Drag racing: Funny Car designer John Buttera, veteran NHRA announcer Dave McClelland, pioneer Paula Murphy, Pro Stock legend Lee Shepherd and Top Fuel innovators The Surfers.

Stock car racing: the late Davey Allison, six-time NASCAR championship owner Richard Childress, two-time NASCAR champ and recent NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Terry Labonte, legendary car builder Banjo Matthews, “King of the Modifieds” Cotton Owens and 1969 Daytona 500 winner LeeRoy Yarbrough.

Motorcycle racing: 15-time AMA Grand National race winner Everett Brashear, two-time flat track national champion Randy Goss, three-time Daytona 200 winner Dick Klamfoth, two-time world Superbike champion Fred Merkel, two-time Baja 1000 winner J.N. Roberts and 13-time national champion mechanic Bill Werner.

Historic category: NACAR’s first champion Red Byron, 1963 Daytona 500 winner Tiny Lund, mechanic and builder Ray Nichels, midget / sprint car king Bob Sweikert, first two-time NASCAR champ Herb Thomas and short track specialist Rex White.

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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.