Parker Kligerman describes challenges IndyCar drivers face at Iowa

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With the NTT IndyCar Series racing at Iowa Speedway this weekend, Parker Kligerman jumped into a racing simulator during Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America Presents the Motorsports Hour to explain to viewers at home some of the challenges drivers will face in the Iowa 300 Saturday evening.

“This is kind of a bullring for these guys. This is absolutely insane,” Kligerman said as he raced around a virtual version of the 0.894-mile oval on iRacing. “They go around here flat out, well above 170 miles an hour.

“When you go up in the corners here, you’re depending on that downforce to be able to go flat-out around here.

“But when you’re in dirty air in these cars, they are so affected that you have to find ways to get clean air, otherwise you’re just going to be lifting, and that’s the thing I think is so exciting for these guys, that they’re always searching for that clean air, trying to find the right lane.

Kligerman, who is a former polesitter at Iowa in NASCAR’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series, also pointed out how quickly the Indy cars turn laps are around the facility.

“I had the record here in a truck for a while. It was like something in the 20’s [22.908 seconds to be exact], and now you’re out here running 17 second laps. It just goes by so quick. It’s absolutely insane to drive one of these around of here.”

Lastly, Kligerman mentioned how quickly drivers have to react to traffic at Iowa, pointing out how it requires extremely fast reaction skills to race at such high speeds on such a small circuit.

“In stock cars, we talk about Bristol being that for us, when things happen so quick that you sometimes can’t react to a wreck that happens in front of you quick enough. That’s the thing that these guys fight. Everything is so quick and happens so fast, if something happens in Turn 3 as you’re driving halfway down the backstretch, you’re going to be there in a split second, so you have to be able to react so quickly, and that’s so tough,” Kligerman said.

Live race coverage of the Iowa 300 begins at 7 p.m. ET on 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.