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Chase Briscoe wins ARCA championship, race at Kansas

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) A year ago, Chase Briscoe was showing up at racetracks looking for a ride.

Now he’s the ARCA champion.

The 22-year-old newcomer from Mitchell, Indiana, wrapped up the series title Friday night when he took to the track for the series finale, a race he went on to win. Briscoe only needed to start to give owners Briggs Cunningham and Kerry Sherer the championship that has long eluded them.

“Last year I was just going to the stops, going to the races. Really didn’t know what I was doing – probably still don’t,” Briscoe said. “I was just trying to get an opportunity, and this has totally changed my life. I’ve met a lot of people I wouldn’t have met if I didn’t get this opportunity.”

Sherer said he hadn’t even heard of Briscoe, who came up through sprint cars, before hearing his name twice in a one-week stretch last year. So, his Cunningham Motorsports team decided to give him a test ride in Alabama, then were impressed to give him another try at Fairgrounds Speedway in Tennessee.

“I didn’t know him, but I called him and asked if he’d be interested,” Sherer said. “He’s the kind of kid guys like me like to have around because he’s so respectful.

“I saw the likeability first,” Sherer said, “and then saw the race-ability.”

That ability manifest itself in six wins and 14 top-five finishes this season, and a big margin in the point standings. He was so far ahead of Tom Hessert and Matt Kurzejewski that Briscoe merely had to unload his car and climb in at Kansas to lock up the championship.

It was a long time coming for Cunningham Motorsports, which formed in the mid-90s and had won numerous races but never a series title. And while Cunningham himself could not be at the track for the series finale, it was still an opportunity for the team to revel in its success.

“I feel like an overnight sensation,” Sherer said. “It only took us 21 years to win a championship.”

Austin Cindric was second, and Michael Self third.

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.