Schmidt Peterson will not run Wickens’ No. 6 at Gateway; Hinchcliffe cleared to race

Leave a comment

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports on Tuesday afternoon announced that it will not field the No. 6 Lucas Oil Honda in this weekend’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park outside St. Louis.

The No. 6, of course, is the Indy car driven by Robert Wickens, who suffered serious injuries in a crash this past Sunday at Pocono Raceway.

Wickens underwent surgery Monday night for what an IndyCar statement called “to stabilize a thoracic spinal fracture of the spinal column fracture associated with a spinal cold injury.”

Wickens is facing additional surgeries to repair other injuries incurred in the violent crash, including fractures in his lower extremities and right forearm. He remains in stable condition in Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Also on Tuesday, SPM announced that the No. 5 Arrow Electronics Honda will compete in this weekend’s race and will be piloted by regular driver James Hinchcliffe.

Hinchcliffe was collected in Sunday’s crash that involved his teammate Wickens, as well as Ryan Hunter-Reay, Takuma Sato and rookie Pietro Fittipaldi.

Hinchcliffe reportedly suffered cuts on both hands apparently from debris resulting from the crash, but he was medically cleared to race again on Tuesday.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
1 Comment

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.