Photo courtesy Annastacia Palaszczuk official Twitter page

Will Power’s visit has Australia thinking about bringing back IndyCar race

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Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Will Power has been on a whirlwind celebratory tour of his native Australia for the past week.

Now, Power’s return to his homeland may also be the start of a different kind of return to Australia, that of IndyCar racing.

According to Australian motorsports site Speedcafe.com, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is eager to discuss a revival of IndyCar returning to race in the popular Gold Coast area as soon as 2020.

After meeting with Power, Palaszczuk took to Twitter to ask Australian racing fans, “Should the IndyCars return to the Gold Coast?”

She also tweeted Power is “as revved up as I am about the idea” of the American open-wheel series making a return to Australia, and added “I’m inviting IndyCar bosses to the GC (Gold Coast) to see if we can accelerate a revival of the event.”

According to the Gold Coast Bulletin, Palaszczuk has reportedly already invited IndyCar parent company CEO Mark Miles to Australia to discuss bringing the series back.

“I used to go to Indy, I can remember the tens of thousands of people that would go to Indy, it brought a lot of investment into the city and a huge entourage of fans from Southeast Asia and North America,” Palaszczuk told the Bulletin. “It’s early days but it would be wonderful if we can get this signature event back in Australia and I’d love to hear what Gold Coasters think.”

Palaszczuk is already scoping out a potential race date in February, according to Speedcafe. IndyCar previously raced in Australia in past years from 1991 through 2008 in either March or April.

Other than its annual race in Toronto, IndyCar has not raced outside North America since 2012 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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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.