Photo: Justin R. Noe/ASP Inc.

Veach Sets Fastest Lap at Road America, Finishes 22nd

By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer

ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin —Zach Veach was not in an ideal situation early on in Sunday’s Kohler Grand Prix at Road America. The Verizon IndyCar Series rookie was holding station in the midfield but ultimately mechanical difficulty brought the No. 26 Relay Group One Thousand One Honda to pit road.

“We had something come loose on the steering rack,” said Veach. “Basically one of the lock nuts that keep the toe links kind of in their position in the steering rack came loose. The steering wheel just started going left hand down further and further to the point where I was going down the straightaway with my hands at like seven and two.

Veach went to pit road and his mechanics found the issue and fixed it but without any yellows the race became a test session, leaving the Andretti Autosport driver to finish one lap down in 22nd. Despite not being able to gain any more positions, there was valuable experience on hand that could be applied to future natural terrain road course races, like how to properly exit the pits.

The Ohio native had to serve a drive-through penalty on Lap 23 for improperly exiting the pits after his pit stop on Lap 18.

However, despite that mistake, Veach soldiered on, turning the race’s fastest lap on Lap 46 with a lap of 1 minute, 45.2421 seconds at an average speed of 137.306 mph. Despite not having the best of luck, Veach was still pushing to get the maximum out of the car and ended up finishing less than a minute behind Gabby Chaves, the first car one lap down.

“We keep showing people we belong in the top 10,” Veach said. “We keep having performances to get us there and little things kind of keep taking us out of it and I think people are noticing the speed that we have, we just need a little bit of luck, honestly.”

The next Verizon IndyCar Series race is the Iowa Corn 300 on Sunday July 8th. Veach has competed in four races at Iowa Speedway during his Mazda Road to Indy career with a lowest finish of seventh.

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.