Kyle Larson dirt racing
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

Kyle Larson wins first dirt late model race in his second career start

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Kyle Larson discovered a new way to dominate in dirt racing Saturday night.

In only the second dirt late model race of his career, Larson led all 50 laps of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series at Port Royal Speedway in Pennsylvania.

Larson already had won more than 30 feature races this year in sprint cars, silver crown and midgets, but he said Saturday’s victory was “no doubt, probably one of, if not the biggest, wins ever of my career.

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“I thought we would be OK, but I didn’t think I was going to win a race,” Larson said in a series release after beating Brandon Sheppard by 0.499 seconds. “To climb into something that’s way different than I have ever been in and to have success with a great team just means a lot.”

Larson had finished fifth in his Late Model debut Thursday at Port Royal, where he previously won three times in sprint cars. He had set modest expectations in interviews this week, hoping just to be competitive against some of the best in dirt lade models.

Said Sheppard, who has 25 victories this season: “I felt like I was closing in on him [Larson]. I really couldn’t take off very well on the restarts and we had a bunch of restarts tonight. That wasn’t helping me. Kyle did a really good job; he does a good job in anything he drives.”

Larson earned $15,000 for the victory as well as praise from many corners in the racing world.

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.