Week 3 shakes up Monster Jam Power Rankings

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Anyone who has ever spent time with a toddler is familiar with the concept of trying to put a square peg in a round hole. With seven tours and a huge number of drivers who don’t compete head to head, that is the situation that Monster Jam has found themselves in. Until this year.

Monster Jam has instituted some innovative ideas in the past, like allowing fans judge the skills and freestyle competition, but new for 2020 is their Power Rankings – a way to measure drivers from various tours.

With his dominant St. Louis victory in which he swept two nights of competition, Morgan Kane jumped to the top of the list this week.

“Everything about Monster Jam events is focused around being consistent,” Kane said after winning last week. “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.”

The first 30 seconds of a freestyle run has become incredibly important. If a driver does not hit that mark because of a mechanical failure or wreck, they will not earn any of the 14 points available for the competition. Notably, it was a bad performance in the Tampa freestyle event that delayed Kane’s appearance into the top 10.

In Monster Jam, different tours have a different number of events, so the Power Rankings seeds them based on percentage points: the number of points they earn compared to what they might have earned. Zero points in any of the competitions severely impact their ability to achieve a high percentage.

Second to Kane this week was Neil Elliott and the Max-D truck. Also racing in the Stadium Series Green tour, he has not scored below nine in the fan voting so far in 2020.

It took a win in San Antonio, Texas at the Alamodome in the Stadium Series Red to elevate former off-road truck racer Todd Leduc to third in the standings. Consistently high marks in all three competitions and a win in the racing portion of the event gave him the points’ lead in that tour.

Tristan England and Earthshaker climbed two spots to fourth last week and is the highest ranked driver from one of the Triple Threat Series. Racing in the West, that tour made a stop at Sacramento where England swept the 2 Wheel Skills competition.

Rounding out the top five this week was a driver who has not yet competed in 2020. Tom Meents in another Max-D truck holds his spot because of the preseason rankings.

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.