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Keselowski on IndyCar: “It’s a good way to get worn out”

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Brad Keselowski made a surprise Verizon IndyCar Series testing debut as part of an 11-car test today at Road America.

The initial social post is linked here.

Meanwhile IndyCar posted some photos and a separate release after Keselowski completed his initial laps in Simon Pagenaud’s No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, which the series points leader will compete in at next week’s KOHLER Grand Prix.

Those photos (all photos: IndyCar) and release are below, as is Keselowski’s tweet after the event:

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ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Wednesday, June 15, 2016) — Brad Keselowski, the 2012 NASCAR Cup champion, turned his first laps in an Indy car today as part of a multi-team test at Road America, the 4.048-mile permanent road course that will play host to the KOHLER Grand Prix, the next event on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule June 24-26.

Keselowski, driver for Team Penske in NASCAR, climbed into the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet of teammate Simon Pagenaud late in the afternoon of a full day of testing that included 11 cars. The 32-year-old Keselowski enjoyed the experience.

“I’ve always wanted to drive an Indy car, I think (Penske Racing President) Tim Cindric knew that,” Keselowski said. “The opportunity came up to dip my toes in the water and kind of expand my knowledge base and put it in the back of my mind for wherever it goes, I don’t know. But it was a heck of an opportunity and I’m glad to have a chance.”

Pagenaud ran a few shakedown laps in the car before turning it over to Keselowski.

“First thing I told Simon (after the test) is he has a very secure job, at least from me,” Keselowski said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him and his team, everyone at Team Penske. This (No.) 22 Menards team, they did a great job today and I had a lot of fun going with them. Simon was fast, really fast and gave me a good rabbit to chase. I learned a ton today and had a lot of fun. I’ve got to let it soak in here to think about all of it. It was a heck of a day here at Road America.”

Keselowski quickly noticed the difference in the handling and braking abilities of an Indy car compared to a stock car.

“It sure was getting in the corners a lot deeper,” he said. “I think the Indy car just pulls so many G’s through the center of the corner and in the brake zone. You have to build confidence in it because the stock car does everything it can to wreck your confidence and in the Indy car it’s important to have confidence. So you have to kind of unlearn everything you learned in a stock car to be good in these cars. That’s a heck of a process but a fun one.

“It’s certainly a different feel, trying to get acclimated to a different seat and you lean back more. I was kind of sitting in Simon’s seat and it doesn’t always fit you perfect, so it wears you out pretty quick. But it’s a good way to get worn out.”

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.