Pro Motocross Washougal canceled
ProMotocross.com/Matt Rice

Pro Motocross cancels Washougal; moves second round location

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The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship has canceled the Washougal National and moved the Aug. 22 round to Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, which will play host to the 2020 season opener Saturday.

Race and series organizers decided after meeting to move the location of the season’s second of nine races.

The event had been approved on the local and state level, but Roy Janson, director of competition at MX Sports Pro Racing said “circumstances surrounding the spread of COVID-19 can change dramatically in a matter of hours.

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NBC SPORTS GOLD SCHEDULE SATURDAYQualifying (11:10 a.m. ET), Moto 1 (2 p.m. ET), Moto 2 (6 p.m. ET)

“We did not reach this decision lightly and the circumstances are entirely out of Ryan’s control. We look forward to bringing the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship back to Washougal for the 2021 season.

Here’s the release from Pro Motocross:

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (August 14, 2020) – With hours before the start of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, series organizers MX Sports Pro Racing have announced the cancelation of the MotoSport.com Washougal National, presented by Peterson CAT, originally scheduled to serve as the second round of the amended 2020 season. Following a meeting between the Race Leadership Team (RLT) and the series’ OEM partners a collective decision was made to move the location of Round 2, on Saturday, August 22, to Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, the site of this weekend’s season-opening event.

The Washougal National had been previously approved for 2020 at both the local and state level in Washington, based on the COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan that had been submitted by the organizers several months ago to the necessary regulatory agencies. Continuing approval of the event had been reiterated from Clark County, within which Washougal MX Park is located, as recently as this morning, August 14. However, based on newly imposed restrictions within the state of Washington as it relates to COVID-19 infections, the RLT, in consultation with the sport’s OEM partners, have collectively decided that in the best interest of series participants, the event will be canceled.

“The decision by the Race Leadership Team and our OEM partners to cancel the Washougal National is both unexpected and disappointing,” said Roy Janson, Director of Competition at MX Sports Pro Racing in a statement. “The comprehensive Health and Safety Plan, prepared specifically to address COVID-19 issues and related prevention and mitigation efforts, submitted and approved both at the local and state level, provided extensive directives designed to address every concern raised by these officials. The Health and Safety Plan, which is based on state policies currently in place under orders by the governor, is fully compliant with all CDC, state, and county health department guidelines, and provided for pre-admission screening of all pro athletes and their crew members, including non-contact temperature testing prior to being allowed to access the venue.

“Ryan Huffman, the event organizer of the Washougal National, did everything within his power to organize a safe event for both professional and amateur competitors,” added Janson. “We commend him for the extensive efforts and sacrifices made to make the 2020 Washougal National a reality. Unfortunately, as we have become increasingly aware, circumstances surrounding the spread of COVID-19 can change dramatically in a matter of hours. We did not reach this decision lightly and the circumstances are entirely out of Ryan’s control. We look forward to bringing the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship back to Washougal for the 2021 season. In the meantime, out of convenience to our teams and competitors, the logical decision was to return to Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in one week’s time.”

Tickets for Round 2 at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch will go on sale tomorrow and will remain limited to 5,000 spectators. It will be a single-day event featuring professional racing only, with no amateur support competition.

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.