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Nov 16, 2012 - 06:03 PM
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Veach Up For IndyCar's Annual Popular Driver Award, Voting Now Open
Posted by: newsla on Nov 16, 2012 - 05:59 PM
IndyCar News
Veach Up For IndyCar's Annual Popular Driver Award, Voting Now Open


17-year-old Zach Veach takes his relationship with his fans quite seriously. In nearly every race market in 2012, Veach made sure to take time to visit the INDYCAR Nation fan zone to directly interact with the same fans he often times tweets with. In 2011, those same fans voted him “Most Popular Driver” in USF2000. The Andretti Autosport driver is again in the running for the honor for 2012 as part of the Star Mazda Championship series.

 

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“I was really excited when I won most popular driver in USF2000 last year and it’s cool to again be up for this year’s award,” said Veach. “I’ve always thought racecar drivers have the best fans and they are all so supportive and loyal to the drivers. I too have a very loyal and growing fan base and I can’t thank them enough for all the support throughout my career thus far.”

In 2011, Veach was announced as the winner of INDYCAR Nation’s annual “Most Popular Driver” award category in the USF2000 National Championship Series, which at the time, was the series he was racing full time in. Fans voted for their favorite INDYCAR drivers on IndyCar.com and for 2012, fan voting is underway to ultimately announce the winners from this past season.

In 2012, Veach competed again for Andretti Autosport and moved up to the Star Mazda Championship series. Veach used four race wins and four pole positions to capture the Formula Car Challenge presented by Goodyear Winter Series championship, his second straight career winter series championship, as 2012 got underway. When the regular season opened, Veach would need four races before finding his stride in the new series and new car, returning to the podium when he claimed third place at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. He went on to secure nine total top-10 finishes, three of which are top-five results including a runner-up finish on the Streets of Toronto.

Following the 2012 season, Veach topped the speed charts and set a new track record at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway while testing a Firestone Indy Lights machine on the Brickyard’s historic grounds. The car, a step up from Star Mazda and the final step on the “Mazda Road to Indy” developmental ladder system, would put Veach just one season presumably outside of the IZOD IndyCar Series and a shot at attempting to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 as early as 2014 as a 19-year-old.

Off the racetrack, Veach is a safety and bullying advocate. He has campaigned alongside Oprah Winfrey and gathered support for her “No Phone Zone” initiative and serves as the national spokesperson for FocusDriven, Advocates for Cell-Free Driving, alongside Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

While writing his first book, 99 THINGS TEENS WISH THEY KNEW BEFORE TURNING 16, Veach revealed his battle with childhood bullying and though sharing his battle in the book was liberating, he committed to himself that he must continue to publically share his story to help others overcome the growing issue, which could have presumably kept him from pursuing his dream profession.

Veach’s popularity within INDYCAR is no surprise given his commitments to not only his performance on the racetrack but also in the classroom as a student at K12 Online Public School and his devotion to giving back through his many charity affiliations.

Voting for “Most Popular Driver” continues through Nov. 26. The 2012 winners are expected to be announced at INDYCAR’s season-ending celebration banquet on Dec. 6.

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