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Mar 20, 2013 - 06:39 PM
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Veach Heads Into Fourth Season With Andretti Autosport
Posted by: newsla on Mar 20, 2013 - 06:38 PM
IndyCar News
Veach Heads Into Fourth Season With Andretti Autosport On The Streets Of St Petersburg In Firestone Indy Lights


Not many racecar drivers sign with a team and stay there for more than a couple years. Zach Veach is bucking the trend. When the green flag drops on the season-opening race on the Streets of St. Petersburg this weekend, Veach will enter his staggering fourth season with Andretti Autosport. The 18-year-old has practically grown up with the team and under the watchful eye of INDYCAR and the entire Mazda Road to Indy developmental ladder system.

 

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"In the past two years, I've shown up at St. Pete in a different Mazda Road to Indy series and now again this year with Firestone Indy Lights," said Veach. "Getting ready to start my fourth season with Andretti Autosport is a huge honor for me. The team has turned into my family and I feel we're stronger than ever. Through the pre-season series tests, my teammate and I have been first and second fastest overall, including me being the fastest rookie. We have a great program this year and I just think that's going to give us a lot of momentum over this weekend! I want to thank everyone for making these dreams possible and to my sponsors: K12, Zakosi Data Backup, ADS IT Solutions, The Young Marines, Replay XD, OMP, Bell Helmets, Art Rotondo, and Firestone."

While the Firestone Indy Lights is kicking off its 12th season under INDYCAR sanction on the streets of St. Petersburg, Veach will be making his rookie start in the series in 2013. He'll however have a veteran teammate to lean on along the way. Carlos Munoz, who claimed two wins as a rookie in Firestone Indy Lights in 2012, returns to Andretti Autosport as part of the team's two-car lineup alongside Veach. The two have dominated off-season testing, consistently being 1-2 at all series tests as well as Veach topping the speed charts and setting an unofficial new track record at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in mid-2012 during the annual Mazda Road to Indy Open Test.

Veach will be piloting the No. 12 entry during the 2013 season with backing from K12. K12 is the nation's largest provider of proprietary curriculum and online education programs for students in kindergarten through high school, delivering over 4.5 million online courses in over 2000 school districts. The flexibility of K12's program has Veach in the drivers seat with his education in parallel with his racing career. The Sports Illustrated-named "Face in the Crowd" plans to graduate high school this May 2013, on the heels of the start of the 12-race Firestone Indy Lights schedule on a diverse line up of ovals as well as road and street circuits including the one this weekend in the Tampa Bay area.

This weekend's race on the Streets of St. Petersburg won't be Veach's first visit to the course. He has four total race starts in two different series: the USF2000 National Championship Series and the Star Mazda Championship (now the Pro Mazda Championship) from 2011 and 2012. His best start and finish on the course is third.

Practice for Veach and the cast of Firestone Indy Lights drivers begins on Fri., Mar. 22 with the competition for the Sunoco Pole Award on Sat., Mar. 23 at 9:25 a.m. EDT. The green flag will fly later that day at 3:40 p.m. EDT for a 45-lap effort equating to the drivers racing for 81.45 miles. The race will be shown on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) via tape delay on Sun., Mar. 24 at 11:00 a.m. EDT as apart of NBC's comprehensive Sunday coverage of INDYCAR racing.

This season Veach will be competing for the $1 million Mazda Road to Indy scholarship to move up to the IZOD IndyCar Series and attempt to qualify for the famed Indianapolis 500 in 2014. He'll also be competing for "Rookie of the Year" honors among a promising class that includes Jack Hawksworth, Gabby Chaves, and former teammate Sage Karam, all of whom he competed against in Star Mazda in 2012.

Off the track, Veach's passion to help others can be seen in his national distracted driving and bullying campaigns, using his youth and unusual occupation to spread a far-reaching message to promote change and growth in America. He won the "Most Popular Driver" award for the past two seasons, while CNN has listed him as one of their most "Intriguing People" and ESPN The Magazine named him NEXT in motorsports. He released his first book in 2011 with a special appearance on NBC's TODAY Show.

In addition to K12, Veach's Firestone Indy Lights effort is also supported by: The Young Marines, ADS IT Solutions, Zakosi Data Backup, Replay XD, OMP, Bell Helmets, and Art Rotondo.

Sanctioned by INDYCAR, the Firestone Indy Lights is one of three series part of the Mazda Road to Indy developmental ladder system, designed to prepare drivers for the IZOD IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500. Andretti Autosport is currently the only INDYCAR team to compete in each level of the Mazda Road to Indy as well as the IZOD IndyCar Series.


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