By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
LONG POND, PA — After topping the speed chart in what would be Saturday’s only practice session for Sunday’s ABC Supply 500, Zach Veach managed to score his first top-10 finish in a 500 mile race with a sixth place finish at Pocono Raceway.
Starting seventh, the Ohio native never ran outside the first 10 cars all day long and managed to get sixth from Marco Andretti on Lap 179. Veach stayed in position during the last 20 laps and couldn’t get close enough to Josef Newgarden to challenge for a Top five but there was a good reason for that.
“Our front wing adjuster broke from the crash in the first couple of laps,” said Veach. “So we were stuck with the same level of [center of pressure] and front wing the entire day. We really struggled once we got close to a car. Our goal was to start light on front downforce just to make it through the first stint conservatively and then keep adding downforce as we went and we never got to do that so we were stuck there all day. But all in all I think it was a pretty decent day.”
Veach had to drive around the problem caused by not having his front wing adjuster working following the Lap 8 incident involving Robert Wickens, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Pietro Fittipaldi, Takuma Sato and James Hinchcliffe. After finding his footing, especially around Turns 1 and 3, Veach then had to
“Once I adjusted the right way things came back to us,” Veach said. “But I was mad at myself that I let Marco get by me there (on Lap 173) because if I didn’t make a mistake, everyone was running where they would be so I knew I had to make up for that mistake. I pushed as hard as I could to get back around him so as soon as I got around Marco I tried to pressure Josef just a little bit.
“I just needed Newgarden to make a mistake, honestly. That was the only way we were going to get around someone was if someone messed up in front of me, unfortunately.”
Despite the damage Veach’s car sustained, there was a positive feeling in the No. 26 Group 1001 Honda pit area.
“I’m happy with it,” said Veach. I wish we would’ve had the front wing adjuster because I figured we could be fighting for a podium but a top six isn’t so bad either.”
The next Verizon IndyCar Series race is the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park on Saturday August 25th.