Indy 500 practice Dixon
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Scott Dixon rallies from spin; Marco Andretti paces Indy 500 practice

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INDIANAPOLIS — Scott Dixon spun but still soared to near the top of the speed chart in Indy 500 practice Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, who had qualified second to pole-sitter Marco Andretti two hours earlier, lost control of his No. 9 Dallara-Honda about 40 minutes into the midafternoon session.

Dixon was OK after making light contact with the left front and left rear with his No. 9 Dallara-Honda, which his Chip Ganassi Racing team quickly repaired.

MARCO’S MOMENT: An Andretti back on the Indy 500 pole position

SUNDAY AFTERNOON PRACTICE: Click here for the speed chart from IMS

An hour and 2 minutes later, Dixon was back on the 2.5-mile oval and posted the third-fastest lap (223.686 mph) in the closing minutes of the session.

Andretti led the practice — and the speed charts for the fourth time in the past five days — with a 224.122 mph lap, followed by Helio Castroneves (224.067).

“I was just getting up to speed and kind of turned in and got a little wider than normal and felt fine, just kept turning it,” Dixon said after the incident. “And there’s actually a big bump there, and it hit the bump. And as soon as it hit the bump, the front wheels came off, and the rear just came around. I’m very lucky.

“It just barely brushed the walls. It actually looks like the car’s fine. Just the front and rear wing, so pretty lucky in that situation.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay (223.327) was fourth, followed by Santino Ferrucci (223.127).

Conor Daly, Marcus Ericsson, Pato O’Ward, Ed Carpenter and Fernando Alonso rounded out the top 10 as teams switched back to focusing on race setups after receiving an extra turbo boost for qualifying over the past three days.

Other notables: Fernando Alonso (11th); Alexander Rossi (12th); Will Power (13th); Josef Newgarden (20th); Colton Herta (21st); Tony Kanaan (22nd); Simon Pagenaud (23rd); Takuma Sato (26th); Graham Rahal (30th).

Click here for the speeds from Sunday afternoon’s practice.

The field of the 104th Indy 500 will return to the track Friday at IMS for a two-hour practice on Carb Day (11 a.m. ET, NBCSN, NBC Sports Gold) that will be the last warmup for the Aug. 23 race (1 p.m. ET, NBC).

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.