Morgan Kane, Grave Digger dominate St. Louis Monster Jam

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Morgan Kane in Grave Digger won his second consecutive event championship in the Monster Jam Series Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at the Dome America’s Center. With overall wins in both nights, Kane gained a 10-point advantage over Neil Elliott in the Max-D truck.

“This is what it’s about man,” Kane said after winning at St. Louis. “Full-on teamwork here. We came a way with two overalls this weekend. Both shows. The sweep; won racing. We brought it home North Carolina style.”

This was the second show for the Stadium Series Green tour. Kane finished third overall January 11 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

On Saturday Kane got off to a strong start with a second-place finish in the racing competition and a win in freestyle. Racing around a figure-eight style course against Ryan Anderson in Son-Uva Grave Digger, Kane drifted slight left as Anderson squared off the corner to score his fourth race competition win in five tries.

Neil Elliott in Max-D did his best to maintain the points’ lead by winning the Skills Challenge, but it all came down to the freestyle in one of the closest margins in Monster Jam history.

Kane beat Elliott in the freestyle by 1/1000ths of a point in a decision based on fan voting.

How did he get there?

“Consistency,” Kane told NBC Sports. “Everything about Monster Jam events is focused around being consistent. Fill 30 seconds with safe jumps. At 75 seconds I’ll head for the backflip, then try to fill the rest of my freestyle with a crazy save and huge air.

“That’s my plan every time.”

On Sunday, Grave Digger and Kane were back on top of the board in the race competition. He was supposed to match up again Anderson for the second straight night, but the engine on the Son-Uva Grave Digger expired and put BroDozer on the  track with Cam McQueen behind the wheel.

McQueen came up one position shy of winning the race competition, but he made up for that with his first skills’ win of the season in the second round of competition. With a quick engine change and service, Son-Uva Digger was back on track for the freestyle competition.

Upcoming TV Schedule (All showings on NBCSN)

Houston: February 4 (Tuesday); 6 p.m.
Tampa: February 11 (Tuesday); 10:30 p.m.
Indianapolis: February 18 (Tuesday); 4 p.m.
Oakland: February 22 (Saturday); 11:30 p.m.
Miami: March 1 (Sunday); 12 a.m.
Jacksonville: March 9 (Monday); 6 p.m.
Detroit: March 21 (Saturday); 11 p.m.
Las Vegas: March 28 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Santa Clara: April 11 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Philadelphia: April 17 (Friday); 2:30 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: May 19 (Tuesday); 4 p.m.
Monster Jam World Freestyle: May 20 (Wednesday); 12 a.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: June 20 (Saturday); 2:30 p.m.

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.