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INDYCAR confirms final Phoenix caution caused by Rossi

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INDYCAR has confirmed that the final full course caution called in Saturday’s Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix was sparked by Alexander Rossi hitting the wall at Turn 4 in the closing stages of the race.

Yellow flags were shown with three laps remaining at Phoenix International Raceway, prompting the race to finish under waved checkered and yellow flags.

Both Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay were involved in late incidents, the latter losing a piece of bodywork that lay on the track with 10 laps to go.

On Wednesday, INDYCAR confirmed that the final full course caution was called as a result of Rossi’s contact with the wall and not due to the debris from Hunter-Reay’s car which was off the racing line.

“The caution at the end of the Phoenix race was a result of the 98 car making contact with the wall coming off the fourth turn,” INDYCAR vice president of competition, race control Brian Barnhart said.

“The incident occurred in front of the leaders and required cars to take evasive action, which made throwing the caution flag imperative.”

Despite the incident, Rossi managed to hold on to 14th place in the final stages of his maiden IndyCar oval race in the no. 98 Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Honda car.

Rossi explained to NBC Sports after the race that a late puncture had hindered his efforts, leaving him to finish outside of the top 10 at Phoenix.

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.