Zach Veach. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Zach Veach’s Indy 500 debut confirmed with Foyt

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LONG BEACH, Calif. – A seven-year veteran of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires, Zach Veach will finally be making his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in this year’s 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

The 22-year-old native of Stockdale, Ohio has been confirmed in A.J. Foyt Racing’s third car (No. 40 Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim Chevrolet) for the race. Veach won three times last year in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires series and made his IndyCar test debut at Sonoma Raceway in September with Ed Carpenter Racing and was working towards an IndyCar program for 2017.

Veach will keep Foyt’s team the youngest at this year’s Indianapolis 500, as he’s alongside Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz in the pair of ABC Supply Co. Chevrolets. Both Daly and Munoz are 25 years old; Daly has made three Indianapolis 500 starts (2013, 2015, 2016) and Munoz four (2013-2016), Munoz having finished second twice in 2013 and last year.

“To compete in the Indianapolis 500 is a dream I’ve had since I was four years old, so when the opportunity came about to join AJ Foyt Racing with the support of the IWiT Championship and Guggenheim, I was ecstatic,” Veach said in a release. “A lot of great people helped me to follow my dream, so I’m thrilled to be part of this program that strives to advance career opportunities for women in the field of science and technology.”

“We are happy to have another great entry for the 101st Indianapolis 500,” added Larry Foyt, president of AJ Foyt Racing. “Zach Veach is one of those drivers who has proven he deserves the opportunity by winning through the Mazda Road to Indy series, and he has put in massive effort to get to this level. The IWiT Championship is a great event for the Indianapolis community, and we are proud to help promote this event and welcome the LPGA back to Indianapolis.”

More to follow either later this weekend or next week.

Tequila Patron to end ESM and IMSA partnerships after 2018 season

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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Earlier on Monday, Tequila Patron, a long-time sponsor in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, both at the team level – they have a long standing partnership with Tequila Patron ESM – and the series level, announced that they will be ending their sponsorships at the end of the 2018 season.

After sponsoring Highcroft Racing in 2008 and 2009 in the American Le Mans Series, Tequila Patron and ESM formed a partnership in 2010 to launch their own team. Since then, they have scored overall wins in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, and the Petit Le Mans. They have also competed internationally, in both Prototype and GT categories.

“On behalf of the entire Extreme Speed Motorsports organization, it has been an honor to represent such an amazing brand for the past 13 years,” said team co-owner Scott Sharp via a team release.

“I have the deepest gratitude for all of (Patron CEO and ESM co-founder) Ed Brown’s support. Together we have tackled various challenges, won races at each step, and built ESM into such an incredible team. Simultaneously, it has been thrilling to watch Ed and his team build the Patrón brand in a meteoric fashion and along the way become an icon in the motorsports world! We will miss not carrying the now infamous green and black livery, but the same passion for excellence will remain!”

IMSA President Scott Atherton also expressed gratitude toward Patron for their long-time involvement.

“IMSA and Patron Spirits have enjoyed a fantastic partnership for more than a decade. Tequila Patron rose through the IMSA ranks, from a high-profile team sponsor with Patron Highcroft Racing beginning in 2008, through its entitlement sponsorship of the Patron GT3 Challenge starting in 2009, and its presenting sponsorship of the American Le Mans Series beginning in 2010,” Atherton detailed.

He continued, “Tequila Patron continued in a prominent position as the American Le Mans Series merged with GRAND-AM to create the new IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and has been our entitlement partner for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup since 2014 in addition to its longstanding support of the Tequila Patron ESM race team and its pair of Nissan DPi race cars.

“All associated with IMSA – competitors, promoter partners, series officials and fans – will miss the iconic Tequila Patrón brand next year. On behalf of IMSA, we thank CEO Ed Brown and Tequila Patron for all they have done over the many years to help us grow IMSA and the sport as a whole. We’re more proud than words can express to have counted Tequila Patron among our family of premium brand partners.”

Team co-owner Scott Sharp, in a story posted on SportsCar365, asserted that the ESM team has every intention of continuing in 2019.

“We’re working on a number of options,” Sharp said. “Obviously I think we’ve singly got the best team we’ve ever had, personnel-wise. Having been refining over the years and making selected additions, we’ve gotten ourselves to be super strong. The goal is keeping everyone together. We’re working through a few different options that will hopefully allow us to do that.”

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