Joe Skibinski / IndyCar

James Hinchcliffe fastest in second practice at Barber

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James Hinchcliffe was the fastest driver in the second practice session for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama with a time of 1 minute, 8.9994 seconds, making Hinchcliffe the fastest driver so far this weekend.

The Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver led COTA winner Colton Herta by 0.0090 seconds, with Santino Ferrucci (1 minute, 9.0461 seconds) finishing third.

After a relatively eventful first practice earlier in the day, Friday afternoon’s second practice session was more tame, but still saw drivers veer off-course.

The caution flag came out with 17 minutes to go when Ferrucci went off-course and into a tire barrier in turn 16, and both Zach Veach and Colton Herta found themselves off-course as well.

Sebastien Bourdais (1 minute, 9.0968 seconds), Alexander Rossi (1 minute, 9.1140 seconds) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (1 minute, 9.1545 seconds) rounded out the top six, all in Hondas. Spencer Pigot’s No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing machine was the fastest Chevrolet, finishing the session seventh fastest (1 minute, 9.2055 seconds).

Jack Harvey and Ben Hanley both posted 18 laps, which was the most of all 24 competitors.

With the second practice complete, the stars and cars of the NTT IndyCar Series will return to action tomorrow, with the third and final practice session starting at 11:45 am E.T. and qualifications at 4:00 pm E.T. Both can be viewed on NBC Sports Gold, and qualifying will air live on NBCSN.

Full Practice 2 results

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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.