Penske’s Josef Newgarden fastest on second Indianapolis 500 practice day

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Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden paced the second day of practice for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500, turning a 228.856-mph lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing was second at 228.835 mph.

Dixon’s teammate, Felix Rosenqvist, crashed with just less than an hour in the session but was unhurt after a pair of heavy impacts for his No. 10 Dallara-Honda.

THE 103RD INDIANAPOLIS 500: Click here for how to watch, full daily schedules

Fernando Alonso also was OK after a crash early Wednesday afternoon.

Newgarden said his team had a “pretty clean” day without working much on preparing for qualifying Saturday.

“It was an OK day for us at least,” he said. “You saw it’s not easy. A couple wrecks today. I think that shows you that it’s not super straightforward to try and get around here even on a practice day.

“I think we need to be a bit better in traffic. Still trying to figure out exactly what we need on the race car. That was kind of our focus today. We didn’t really do much qualifying sims or anything like that.

“So yeah, we’re trucking forward. I think the Shell car feels OK. It’s not a bad start. I’m trying to stay careful with it. I always try and respect this place at the beginning. I never try and push until it’s time. Just you’ve always got to watch your back around here. She’s a tough place at a lot of moments.”

Spencer Pigot, Santino Ferrucci and Helio Castroneves rounded out the top five speeds.

Alexander Rossi (224.648 mph) had the fastest speed without a tow during the session.

“It’s pretty irrelevant,” Rossi said. “It’s good, right? I mean, I think there’s inherent pace in the car, which is always a question mark coming here.

“We were joking earlier kind of among the drivers, the drivers are a much smaller equation at a place like this in terms of the overall performance at least in single lap pace. It’s really down to the car and the setup that you come up with. It’s a positive thing, but still, super irrelevant at this point.”

Click here for the results of Wednesday’s second practice for the 103rd Indy 500.

Click here for the combined results of the first two practices.

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.