Veach To Make His First Start On The Streets of St. Petersburg

Andretti Autosport’s Zach Veach Enters The Race Weekend Second In Series Points

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (Mar. 23, 2011) One year ago this weekend Zach Veach was announced as the newest driver for Andretti Autosport at a press conference alongside his idol, Michael Andretti. While Veach was announced as the team’s latest find in the pool of hundreds of thousands of aspiring racecar drivers across the globe, he would have to watch from the sidelines as his teammate, eventual USF2000 Points Champion, Sage Karam, took the green flag, as the team’s sole entry in the weekend’s USF2000 race event.

“In 2010, I was preparing to compete in the Atlantic Championship Series before it folded at the last minute,” said Veach, now teamed with Spencer Pigot in USF2000. “We then got together with Andretti Autosport and because the deal was done so late in the game, my car wasn’t ready to take the green flag for St. Pete that year.”

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While sitting on the sidelines on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Veach missed out on two rounds of race points yet still managed to stay in the top-five in the driver championship point standings that year. He secured eight top-five finishes throughout the season, helping Andretti Autosport clinch the team championship title at season’s end.

Veach, who celebrated the release of his first book with an appearance on NBC’s The Today Show earlier this month, opened the 2011-year with the Cooper Tires USF2000 Winterfest Points Championship, secured from two race wins and three pole positions giving one of CNN’s “Intriguing People” his first career championship in the “Mazda Road to Indy” developmental ladder system.

The 16-year-old student turned athlete then opened the 2011 USF2000 National Championship season at Sebring International Raceway last week running flag-to-flag from the Pole Position to take the checkered flag in the Series’ first event of the season. In Race #2, Veach again started from the Pole Position but due to contact with another driver midway through the race, damaging his front wing, finished eighth.

The driver of the No. 7 Zakosi Data Backup Mazda will make his first start on the Streets of St. Petersburg as part of a full weekend of open-wheel racing, when the entire “Mazda Road to Indy” developmental ladder system will be in full effect in support of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg featuring the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers.

“After winning the first race of the 2011 season, I’m really looking forward to and working hard for St. Pete,” said Veach. “With it being my first street course race, it’s definitely going to be a learning experience but a lot of fun at the same time!”

Veach sits in a three-way tie for second place in Series’ points (three points out of first) heading into the third and fourth rounds of the USF2000 National Championship season.

“Being in a three-way tie for second in the championship and only three points away from first, St. Pete is going to be really important for us,” continued Veach. “The team was really quick their last year, so I’m excited to see what happens.”

To follow Veach’s progress on the 1.8-mile street course in St. Petersburg, live timing and scoring is available on www.usf2000.com.

Sanctioned by INDYCAR, the USF2000 National Championship, presented by Cooper Racing Tires and powered by Mazda, is one of three series part of both INDYCAR’s “Mazda Road to Indy” ladder system and the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development driver program.

Follow along in Veach’s journey as he documents his 2011 season for RACER Magazine at www.racer.com. For more information, please visit www.zachveach.com, www.AndrettiAutosport.com or www.USF2000.com.

About Zach Veach

Zach “Ziggy” Veach is a 16-year-old autoracing driver who competes in INDYCAR’s ‘Mazda Road to Indy’ USF2000 National Championship Series, an important open-wheel stepping-stone to a career in the IZOD IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500. In 2011, Veach captured the USF2000 Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship, on the heels of placing fifth in the 2010 season, despite missing two race events. In 2010, Michael Andretti signed Veach to his team, Andretti Autosport, while also being named one of CNN’s “Intriguing People” and was also nominated for Sports Illustrated “Sports Kid of the Year” award. In addition to his racing, Veach is an advocate for safer driving in conjunction with Oprah Winfrey’s “No Phone Zone,” and is the national spokesperson for FocusDriven, an advocacy group for victims of motor vehicle crashes involving drivers using their cell phones, and the group endorsed by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and the DOT. In 2010, Veach released his first published Android application through his phone-app building company, ZaAPP, releasing urTXT, in the Marketplace for Android to help consumers avoid dangerous text messaging while driving and helms his own safe driving program, Ziggy’s Safe Driving, which hits 25 markets across the country each year. 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. The son of a national truck and tractor-pulling champion, Veach entered his sophomore year of high school this past fall and released his first book, 99 THINGS TEENS WISH THEY KNEW BEFORE TURNING 16, on March 2, 2011. For more information, please visit www.zachveach.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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