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Graham Rahal signs five-year extension with Rahal Letterman Lanigan

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Graham Rahal will keep driving for his father’s IndyCar Series team.

Rahal, who was in the last year of his contract with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, said Friday that he has signed a five-year contract extension through 2023.

Said Bobby Rahal, “As a team owner, I know you’re going to say I’m biased, but I admire and respect Graham’s work ethic on and off the track for our team, for our sponsors, and we’re really pleased that we now go forward for the next five years as a team together because I think the best five years of Graham’s career are ahead of him. Consequently the best five years of RLL’s career, in effect, is going to ride along with him.”

Graham described a feeling excitement and asserted that he thinks his and the team’s best years are ahead.

“I’d like to think that the next five years, maybe a little after that, is the prime of my career. We’re kind of entering that stage. We have the consistency. I know where I’m going to be. That’s obviously extremely important for myself. I’m excited about it”

Graham added, “We have a tremendous team here. We’ve got amazing individuals that are behind the scenes that make this all happen. Obviously the mechanics. Obviously the engineers get a lot of the credit, but the mechanics put a lot of heart into it, have done a really, really good job for us.”

Rahal is the son of Bobby Rahal, the three-time open wheel champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner. The younger Rahal said contract negotiations were handled by the 29-year-old driver’s management and Mike Lanigan, one of the other team co-owners along with former television talk show host David Letterman.”

Graham Rahal has six IndyCar Series wins, five of them coming since joining the team in 2013. His best points finish was 2015 when he was fourth, before finishing fifth in 2016 and sixth last season.

He is seventh through eight races this year, including a runner-up finish at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in the season opener.

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.