Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

MRTI: Stoneman, O’Ward, Thompson win Saturday at Indy GP

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The three remaining races out of six for the Mazda Road to Indy at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on Saturday saw one new winner and two repeat winners (Friday quick reports here).

Dean Stoneman secured his first Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires win following a magical first green flag lap (Lap 3 overall following two separate incidents) where he rose from fifth on the grid to first in the No. 27 Stellrecht Dallara IL-15 Mazda for Andretti Autosport. He then led the balance of the race to become the sixth winner in seven races this year.

While Felix Serralles alternated flying laps with a couple tenths off he made a late-race mistake at Turn 12 that cost him a likely runner-up finish for Carlin, and it promoted Santiago Urrutia to his second runner-up finish in as many days in the No. 55 Soul Red Mazda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Kyle Kaiser coming third in his No. 18 Intervision/NetApp/Juniper Networks entry for Juncos Racing.

Carlin’s Ed Jones finished fourth and consolidated his points lead with Serralles back in fifth, ahead of fellow Felix, Felix Rosenqvist of Belardi Auto Racing. A number of incidents occurred behind them.

Indy Lights coverage from the IMS road course will air on NBCSN on Sunday, May 22, at 1:00 pm EDT.

The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires race was less eventful with Pato O’Ward scoring his fifth win in six races in the No. 80 Gap Guard/Topo Chico car for Team Pelfrey. Aaron Telitz (Team Pelfrey) and Will Owen (Juncos Racing) completed the podium behind the 17-year-old Mexican.

In the second Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda race, Parker Thompson of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing won his third race of the year and first at IMS, ahead of Victor Franzoni (ArmsUp Motorsports) and Luke Gabin (JAY Motorsports), the latter of whom capped off a roller coaster weekend with an incredible result.

Both O’Ward and Thompson enjoy significant leads in their respective series.

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.