TORONTO, CANADA (July 13, 2013) - The weekend on the Streets of Toronto couldn't have gone farther from what Andretti Autosport's Zach Veach had expected. The 18-year-old Firestone Indy Lights K12-sponsored driver started from the back of the Toronto 100 field in a backup car borrowed from rival team Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. After making contact during the race, Veach went on to finish seventh.
Veach's weekend in downtown Toronto looked promising as the teen did his track walk around the 1.75-mile, 11-turn temporary street course on the streets surrounding Lake Ontario. While the K12 pilot was making his third start in Toronto, he was looking to trump his previous best start and finish of third and second from 2012 in the Star Mazda Championship Series.
Opening practice would lead everyone to believe he would do just that. He opened the weekend second on the speed charts with a 1:06.2234 quick time around the course. He toured the track 27 times-the most of any driver in the series. During the second practice session, Veach sat at the top of the charts before being knocked down to fourth when the checkered flag flew to close the session. His best time-1:05.3221 would lead him into the race for the Sunoco Pole Award.
The day would start out Sat., July 13 with a 45-minute shootout for the Pole Award. The session seemed like a crash fest. First, Jack Hawksworth found the tire barrier in Turn 8, though he was able to continue on. Then Veach's former teammate Sage Karam would bring out the first red flag during the session after crashing in Turn 5. Then Veach took a turn, crashing in Turn 1, and while sitting in a blind spot waiting to be towed in, was hit by Peter Dempsey. The incident brought the red flag out again, causing Veach to loose his fastest lap of the session. With so much damage to his car, he was not able to finish the session. He would start the race seventh.
After qualification's, Andretti Autosport determined they would not be able to fix Veach's #12 K12 car and would instead need to move him to a backup car, therefore forfeiting his qualifying position. With the change, Veach would then start at the rear of the field. Andretti Autosport secured the use of a chassis from the Schmidt Peterson c/w Curb-Agajanian team to serve as Veach's backup for the Toronto 100.
"This morning we were pushing really hard, definitely a contender for the pole position, and I think at the time, I had the second fastest lap of the session," said Veach after qualifications. "I just made a mistake, and we got the car a little too low and that put me into the wall in Turn 1. Unfortunately, that incident took the K12 Andretti Autosport machine out. I'm very thankful for Sam Schmidt and allowing me to use one of their cars."
When the green flag flew for the 50-lap race, Karam caught the tire barrier in Turn 4 on the first lap. As Veach was trying to get by him, he tapped him. Veach would then need to make a pitstop so Andretti Autopsport could check his car for damage, as would Karam. Both drivers would then go down a lap. While Veach fought to finish for points, he went on to finish seventh.
"Today was just not a good day for us at all, but I cannot thank my K12 crew enough for working so hard and getting me back out on the track," continued Veach.