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Newgarden crashes while Dixon leads third practice at Watkins Glen

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WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – A heavy accident for Josef Newgarden in Turn 7 was the lead story during the third and final practice before qualifying in the Verizon IndyCar Series’ INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen presented by Hitachi.

Meanwhile, Scott Dixon topped the timesheets with a best time of 1:22.8008 at the 3.37-mile road course. It was quicker than his best Friday time of 1:22.8740.

Newgarden lost control of his car in Turn 7, and the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet hit hard into the tire barriers. But the car looked better than it appeared from the replay upon its return to the paddock, and Newgarden, who was OK, felt worse about the extra work forced on his Ed Carpenter Racing team.

“I just wrecked. Just an error. All good,” Newgarden told IndyCar Radio’s Jake Query.

“The car is relatively OK I think. It wasn’t as bad as it could be. There will be some work. You always feel bad when you put work on the team that’s unnecessary.”

Up front, meanwhile, Dixon led his third consecutive practice session with an even quicker lap than he did in either session on Friday.

Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais, James Hinchcliffe and Jack Hawksworth completed the top five, with Spencer Pigot in the second ECR entry an impressive sixth place.

Takuma Sato also brought out a red flag for a stop on course, but stopped the car before any contact at Turn 9.

Times are below; qualifying is set to start from 3 p.m. ET and local time. It airs tonight at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App.

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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.