Motorsport News - US
Star Mazda Driver Zach Veach to test Andretti Indy Lights Car
11th August 2012
Star Mazda Regular Zach Veach Set To Turn Laps In An Indy Lights Car At Putnam Park Raceway; Michael Andretti, Tony George, Jr., Weigh In
Andretti Autosport announced today they will test Star Mazda Championship driver Zach Veach in one of the team's Firestone Indy Lights cars on Aug., 13 at Putnam Park Raceway.
"We're always impressed with Zach and how he handles himself both on and off the track," said Michael Andretti, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Andretti Autosport. "We've been working with him for a couple years now and he has shown great promise. I think he will adapt well to the (Firestone) Indy Lights car; this test is the next step for him as he works his way up the Mazda Road to Indy ladder and the team and I look forward to being a part of his development."
Veach currently competes full-time in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear with Andretti Autosport and will continue his quest for the championship title in his K12 Mazda at the three remaining races on his schedule: the Grand Prix of Baltimore, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and Road Atlanta. The 17-year-old from Stockdale, Ohio, Veach started 2012 off by capturing the Formula Car Challenge Winter Series Championship by using four race wins and four pole positions to secure the series title. During the regular Star Mazda season, Veach has six top-10 finishes and a runner-up result on the Streets of Toronto, putting him tenth in the championship points.
"I'm beyond excited and thankful for this amazing opportunity to test the Indy Lights car," said Veach. "It's such an honor to be part of the Andretti Autosport family and I'm as committed as ever to make it through the full Mazda Road to Indy ladder with an ultimate goal of reaching the IZOD IndyCar Series and qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. Testing the Indy Lights car is a great step to achieve my dream, and I can't thank the team, K12 and all of my partners enough for the continued support of me and my career."
Veach joined Andretti Autosport in 2010 for the USF2000 National Championship, where he finished fifth in the overall driver championship points, despite starting the season two races behind the rest of the field. He returned to Andretti Autosport in 2011 and secured the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 Winterfest Championship, with two race wins and three pole positions. During the regular USF2000 season, he finished fourth, helping Andretti Autosport secure the team championship title for the second consecutive year with one win, five podiums and three pole positions.
ESPN The Magazine recently named Veach a "NEXT" athlete in motorsports, is one of CNN's "Intriguing People," as well as being nominated for the Sports Illustrated "Sports Kid of the Year" award. He also keeps an active pace off the racetrack working to combat distracted driving and bullying.
Veach will be the first driver, who has competed at every level of the Mazda Road to Indy, to step up to the Firestone Indy Lights series for a test. The Mazda Road to Indy is the official developmental system of INDYCAR and is designed to advance drivers from grassroots to the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500. The initiative was launched in 2010.
"Watching Zach take another step towards continuing his movement up the Mazda Road to Indy is special, because it's exactly what the ladder system is all about," said Tony George Jr., Director, Firestone Indy Lights. "He's seen success in USF2000 and Star Mazda, and we've watched him develop both on and off the track. Not only is he talented in a race car, he's also built a recognizable brand for himself, which is very important in motorsports. It's very apparent that we have some huge talent in Star Mazda this year, and we're looking forward to having many such drivers join Firestone Indy Lights in the near future."
Andretti Autosport is the only team in INDYCAR to enter cars at every level of the Mazda Road to Indy with two entries in each series: USF2000 National Championship, Star Mazda Championship, and the Firestone Indy Lights. The team is also campaigning three entries in the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2012.
Veach's racing efforts are primarily supported by K12 with additional backing provided by: the Young Marines youth organization, Zakosi Data Backup, ADS IT Solutions, Replay XD, OMP, Oakley, and Arai Helmets.
About Zach Veach:
Zach "Ziggy" Veach is a 17-year-old autoracing driver who competes in INDYCAR's 'Mazda Road to Indy' Star Mazda Championship Series, an important open-wheel stepping-stone to a career in the IZOD IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500. In 2012, Veach captured the Formula Car Challenge Winter Series Championship and in 2011, he secured the USF2000 Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship and was voted the "Most Popular Driver in USF2000". Named by ESPN The Magazine as a NEXT athlete in motorsports, Veach keeps an active pace both on and off the race track. In 2010, Michael Andretti signed Veach to his team, Andretti Autosport, while also being named one of CNN's "Intriguing People" and being nominated for the Sports Illustrated "Sports Kid of the Year" award. In addition to his racing, Veach is an advocate for safer driving as the national spokesperson for FocusDriven, an advocacy group for victims of motor vehicle crashes involving drivers using their cell phones and has campaigned for Oprah Winfrey's "No Phone Zone." Veach designed a phone application through his phone-app building company, ZaAPP, releasing urTXT, in the Marketplace for Android to help consumers avoid dangerous text messaging while driving. Like most of his peers, Veach was bullied as a kid and works to combat the growing epidemic as part of the Cyber Safety Academy's "No BULL Challenge" as a key ambassador. Veach has been a guest or profiled on a variety of national platforms including NBC's The Today Show, CNN's Headline News, ABCNews.com, Oprah Radio's The Gayle King Show, The Los Angeles Times, AOL.com and is a blogger for RACER magazine and The Huffington Post. The son of a national truck and tractor-pulling champion, Veach is sponsored by K12, Zakosi Data Backup, the Young Marines youth organization, Replay XD, Arai Helmets, OMP, ADS IT Solutions, and artrotondo.com. He enters his senior year of high school this fall and released his first book, 99 THINGS TEENS WISH THEY KNEW BEFORE TURNING 16, in 2011. For more information, please visit www.ZachVeach.com.
About Andretti Autosport:
Based in Indianapolis and led by racing legend Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport fields multiple entries in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Andretti Autosport competes in Firestone Indy Lights, the Star Mazda Championship and in the USF2000 National Championship. The company boasts three IZOD IndyCar Series championships (2004, 2005 and 2007), two Firestone Indy Lights titles (2008 and 2009), one USF2000 championship (2010) and has won the Indianapolis 500 twice (2005 and 2007). For more information,
About the Star Mazda Championship Series:
For 2012, the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear will again be a major part of the "Mazda Road to Indy". The 2012 schedule consists of 17 races on 10 weekends, most with IndyCar. Rising stars from around the world will compete on road courses, street circuits and ovals in front of more than a million fans as they battle for prizes valued at $1.5 million, including a scholarship to move up and race in the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights series. Drivers 16 and older are welcome to compete and the Star Mazda Championship also features the Expert Series for drivers 30 and older. The Star Mazda Championship features standing starts, wheel-to-wheel racing at 160 mph and budgets a fraction of other top open-wheel ladder series. For more information on the Star Mazda Championship and its drivers, as well as the Mazda Motorsports ladder
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