Hinchcliffe Replaces Veach At Andretti

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, September 25 2020

James Hinchcliffe has joined Andretti Autosport. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Martha Fairris)

Popular Canadian James Hinchcliffe will drive the No. 26 Honda fielded by Andretti Autosport during the remaining three events of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season.

Hinchcliffe replaces Zach Veach, who opted to exit his fulltime seat Wednesday after disappointing results during the season’s first 11 events relegated him to lame duck status with team-owner Michael Andretti.

Hinchcliffe has competed in three events this season in the No. 29 Honda for Andretti _ the COVID-19-delayed season-opening Genesys 600 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth; the GMR INDYCAR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road-course and the 104th Indianapolis 500 at IMS. “Hinch” will make his debut in the No. 26 car during the Harvest Grand Prix doubleheader on IMS’ 2.439-mile/14-turn road-course on Friday, Oct. 2, and Saturday, Oct. 3.

Veach, a 25-year-old native of Stockdale, Ohio, opted out after being informed that he would not be returning to the No. 26 car in 2021. Veach is winless in 47 career INDYCAR starts, including 45 with Andretti Autosport beginning in 2018.

Hinchcliffe has posted six INDYCAR wins in a career that began with Newman Haas Racing in 2011, when he was named IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year. Hinchcliffe moved to Andretti Autosport for the 2012-14 seasons before joining Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in 2015. The Toronto native subsequently emerged as a fan favorite as well as the face of Honda’s televised street car advertisements. 

“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as ‘class act’ as you can,” said Hinchcliffe, 33, who suffered a similar fate with Sam Schmidt’s organization after the 2019 season. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be. 

“For me now, my focus is 100 percent on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS. Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”

The Harvest GP presented by GMR will see Hinchcliffe join Alexander Rossi (No. 27 Honda), Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 Honda), Colton Herta (No. 88 Honda) and Marco Andretti (No. 98 Honda) for the weekend. Friday’s race will be televised live at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on the USA Network. Saturday’s race will be televised at 2:30 p.m. (EDT) on NBC.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season,” Andretti said. “But we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the No. 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021. James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”


NTT IndyCar Series point standings _ 1, Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing, 456; 2, Josef Newgarden, Team Penske, 384; 3, Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP, 338; 4, Colton Herta, Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport, 327; 5, Will Power, Team Penske, 306; 6, Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, 301; 7, Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, 300; 8, Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske, 277; 9, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport, 260; 10, Santino Ferrucci, Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan, 249.


Saturday, June 6 _ Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth (Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing)

Saturday, July 4 _ Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road-Course 1 (Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing)

Saturday, July 11 _ Road America Race 1, Elkhart Lake, Wis. (Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing)

Sunday, July 12 _ Road America Race 2, Elkhart Lake, Wis. (Felix Rosenqvist, Chip Ganassi Racing)

Friday, July 17 _Iowa Speedway Race 1, Newton (Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske)

Saturday, July 18 _ Iowa Speedway Race 2, Newton (Josef Newgarden, Team Penske)

Sunday, Aug. 23 _ Indianapolis 500-Mile Race (Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)

Saturday, Aug. 29 _ World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway Race 1, Madison, Ill. (Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing)

Sunday, Aug. 30 _ World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway Race 2, Madison, Ill. (Josef Newgarden, Team Penske)

Saturday, Sept. 12 _ Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Race 1, Lexington, Ohio (Will Power, Team Penske)

Sunday, Sept. 13 _ Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Race 2, Lexington, Ohio (Colton Herta, Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport)

Friday, Oct. 2 _ Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road-Course Race 1

Saturday, Oct. 3 _ Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road-Course Race 2

Sunday, Oct. 25 _ Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.



| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, September 25 2020
No Comment

Comments are closed.