Circuit of the Americas will hold one of three sanctioned all-team IndyCar tests in 2019.

IndyCar announces 2019 test dates, including at COTA and Laguna Seca

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IndyCar is wasting no time in preparing for the 2019 season.

On Friday, the sanctioning body announced that it will hold three all-team open tests during the 2019 season, including two for new venues on the schedule.

The first will be a two-day preseason test on Feb. 12-13 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, less than four weeks before the start of the 2019 IndyCar season on March 10 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The COTA test is in preparation for IndyCar’s first-ever regular season race at the sprawling road course on March 24.

The other two tests, both in-season sessions, will be April 24 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the 103rd Running of the legendary Indianapolis 500 on May 26, as well as Sept. 19 at WeatherTech Laguna Seca Raceway.

The latter will come just four days before IndyCar’s first race at the fabled Central California road course in 15 years, on Sept. 22.

All three tests will utilize 2018-19 IndyCar Series testing rules.

In addition, IndyCar announced that the private testing period for teams will run from Oct. 1, 2018 through Sept. 11, 2019, with blackout periods around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Tests are allowed within seven days of all race weekends except prior to the season opener at St. Petersburg.

Each team is allowed three preseason test days that must be completed by March 4, 2019.

WeatherTech Laguna Seca Raceway

Full-time rookie drivers and new IndyCar teams are allowed two additional test days that must be used by Sept. 11, 2019.

According to an IndyCar media release, Chevrolet and Honda, the series’ only engine manufacturers, will also receive “one test day at any approved track other than the three where open tests will take place.”

Lastly, full-season IndyCar teams are allowed one extra day to test 2019 Indy Lights drivers looking to eventually jump to the IndyCar series. And if an IndyCar team also has a Indy Lights subsidiary team, it gains one other additional day of testing an Indy Lights driver in an Indy car.

All 17 races on the 2019 IndyCar Series schedule will be televised on NBC or NBCSN.

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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.