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New John Andretti autobiography details a multifaceted life and career

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A new autobiography chronicling the multifaceted career and impactful life of auto racing’s versatile John Andretti is available for pre-order ahead of a Sept. 1 release.

The driver with the diverse resume and one of racing’s greatest pedigrees died Jan. 30 after a lengthy battle with colon cancer.

“Racer” showcases the passion, wisdom and wit of Andretti, who was remembered in a February memorial service by close friend and NASCAR on NBC analyst Jeff Burton as “a guy who made stuff happen. If something was on his mind, he’d make it happen.”

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That was evident during a career that included wins in NASCAR, IndyCar, sports cars and sprint cars, as well as a semifinal round appearance in an NHRA Top Fuel dragster. Andretti also was the first to attempt and complete the Indianapolis 500-Coca-Cola 600 doubleheader in 1994.

The forewords for Racer are indicative of Andretti’s reach: They were written by A.J. Foyt, Richard Petty (whom he won a race for in the No. 43), cousin Michael Andretti and his uncle, Mario Andertti.

After his racing ended, John Andretti spent much of his time raising awareness about cancer checkups and emphasizing the importance of family and helping others.

“Racer” was written by Jade Gurss, a longtime motorsports PR representative who also has written books about Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Darrell Waltrip.

Gurss befriended Andretti while he was a relief driver for Earnhardt in 2004 and “found he had wonderful storytelling skills,” Gurss said in a book release. “I had been following the news of John’s fight with cancer since 2017, and I thought there was a chance he’d be willing to do a book about his life.

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“When I asked him, his immediate reply was ‘Maybe something good can come of this,’ meaning he could use the opportunity to raise awareness of colon cancer and his children’s charity efforts. We did a number of lengthy interview sessions in the final months of his life. It’s the most rewarding project that I’ve ever been a part of.”

The book is now available for pre-order from the publisher, Octane Press, and 10 percent of proceeds will go directly to Andretti’s chosen charity, the Riley Children’s Foundation.

Those who pre-order the book from Octane by June 21 will be invited to an exclusive Zoom chat with Mario Andretti and John Andretti’s son, Jarett, on June 23.

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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.