Even though he finished second, Will Power still beat the odds this season

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Considering he competed in one less race this season than most other full-time drivers due to a medical occurrence that forced him to miss the season opener, Will Power has nothing to hang his head about.

The odds started off against Power after missing St. Petersburg, yet he still rallied back for a strong season with four wins. The odds were also stacked against him coming into Sunday’s Verizon IndyCar Series season-ending GoPro Grand Prix Of Sonoma.

Still, he fought the odds all the way to the finish. Had it not been for a mechanical issue nearly halfway through Sunday’s race, who knows what might have happened if he had a full 16-race season under his belt.

Power didn’t give up going into Sunday’s race, which was essentially his mantra throughout the season. Even though he came into the race 44 points behind Simon Pagenaud, he still felt he had a chance to pull out a come-from-behind championship.

“It was pretty realistic (to catch Pagenaud) considering the situation of double points,” Power told NBCSN. “But that’s just how it flows, you know, from year to year.

“Simon did a phenomenal job and he’s a very deserving champion. To lead it one, two, three in the championship for (Team Penske) is a great result, it really is. Unfortunately for us, we really didn’t have a shot today.”

Power ultimately finished second behind Pagenaud in the standings, with Helio Castroneves ending up third, making it a 1-2-3 Team Penske finish in the final points in the 50th anniversary of Team Penske.

“Honestly, (finishing) second and missing the first race and all that and how I felt at the beginning of the year, getting four wins, I’m still very happy with the year,” Power said. “It’s still a great year.

“And Simon did a phenomenal job. He’s really come into his own. I’ve raced him for 10 years and I’m very happy to see him win the championship, even though I finished second to him.”

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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.