Kyle Larson victory crash
Trent Gower/World of Outlaws

Kyle Larson rebounds with fifth World of Outlaws victory of the season

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With a Saturday night victory, Kyle Larson made up for some of the crash damage from his spectacular sprint car wreck six days earlier.

Larson reclaimed his summer dirt track momentum by rallying for his fifth victory this season in the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series. He led the final eight of 55 laps in the Ironman 55 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway in Pevely, Missouri, passing runner-up Sheldon Haudenschild and third-place finisher Shane Stewart in the closing laps.

Larson earned his second $20,000 payday of the season with the Outlaws, cushioning the blow of his wild flip in the All Star Circuit of Champions race Aug. 2 at Huset Speedway in Brandon, South Dakota, that left Paul Silva’s team scrambling to build a new car.

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“That was hard work,” said Larson, who looked to have just finished running a marathon. “A wild racetrack. I’m normally pretty calm after racing but my heart rate is still going. That was wild. You can’t say enough about everyone who helps out on this team. I tore up a car at Huset’s last week and these guys worked their asses off all week to get it ready.”

Larson said “the track finally came to us” in his 13th career Outlaws victory (tied with Brooke Tatnell and Terry McCarl for 34th on the all-time winning list).

Kyle Larson celebrates his fifth World of Outlaws victory this season (Trent Gower/World of Outlaws).

After finishing sixth with the new car in Friday’s Outlaws race at Pevely (which was won by Haudenschild), Larson now has 24 victories in 40 starts on dirt since the beginning of June in sprint cars and USAC midget events.

The Outlaws will race Thursday through Saturday at Knoxville Raceway, normally the site of the Knoxville Nationals. With the prestigious event canceled this season, the Outlaws will hold a three-day event with a special format and a $50,000 first prize from a season-high purse.

Larson swept the Outlaws races at Knoxville in June.

Kyle Larson and Sheldon Haudenschild battle for the victory Saturday night (Trent Gower/World of Outlaws).

 

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.