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INDYCAR confirms four primary manufacturer extensions

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – INDYCAR’s four primary manufacturers – engine/aero kit partners Chevrolet and Honda, tire partner Firestone and chassis partner Dallara – have all announced multiyear extensions during a press conference on Friday at this weekend’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

While none of those manufacturers would be pressed on the exact year of their extensions, multiyear is believed to mean at least through 2020 with the potential it is longer than that.

At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, Dallara was announced for an extension through 2020. This meant that even if Dallara was not to be selected as the manufacturer of INDYCAR’s new 2018 universal aero kit, the base Dallara DW12 chassis would be pressed into service for three further years beyond 2017.

In the same month, INDYCAR also announced a multiyear extension with Firestone, whose prior contract ran through 2018.

Honda’s last announced contract extension was at the IndyCar media day in February 2016, which was for two years (2016-2017) with a three-year option (2018-2020). Although Honda did not confirm that portion today, the confirmation of an extension here implies a sync up with at least 2020 per that option length, and with the Dallara date confirmation in January.

Chevrolet does not comment on the length or exact dates of its extensions except to say multiyear. But their confirmation today is good news to ensure the series maintains engine competition for the forthcoming years.

Both Honda’s Art St. Cyr and Chevrolet’s Mark Kent stated for the record they would welcome a third manufacturer, although from a signing, building and developing an engine standpoint, it’s highly unlikely one would arrive before 2019.

St. Cyr, Kent, Dallara’s Stefano De Ponti, Firestone’s Lisa Boggs and INDYCAR’s Jay Frye were all present at today’s announcement in St. Petersburg.

A further analysis of the extension with quotes will follow in due course.

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.