Recent high school graduate returns to The Mile.
WEST ALLIS, WIS. - With his high school diploma now in hand, Zach Veach's summer has hit the ground running as he makes his way back to the Milwaukee Mile in the hopes of duplicating his first career pole result from 2011. The 18-year-old has no time for down time as he looks for his first pole and win of the 2013 season and his quest for the Firestone Firehawk Cup.
"Getting to go back to Milwaukee is very exciting for me; I got my first oval pole and a second-place finish there back in 2011 running in the USF2000 series," said Veach. "The team and I have been working very hard in preparing for this weekend. We had a successful test there last week and took a lot away with us that's going to carry into the race and hopefully allow us to start one step ahead of everyone else.
While Veach will most likely not hang his high school diploma in Andretti Autosport's transporter this weekend inside the mile long oval on the grounds of the Wisconsin State Fair, he will be in charge of hanging the Milwaukee Mile's American Flag in celebration of his partnership with the Young Marines youth organization and Flag Day on Fri., June 14 as an honorary Young Marine.
He'd also love to hang his hat on his first career pole position from 2011 at The Milwaukee Mile by benchmarking that into his first career Firestone Indy Lights pole come this weekend.
He'll have his first shot to work towards that when the course opens for official practice on Thurs., June 13 at 10:00 a.m. central, followed by three additional practice sessions before he'll compete for the Sonoco Pole Award on Fri., June 14 at 3:30 p.m. central.
He'll then look for his first Firestone Indy Lights win during the 100-lap race on Sat., June 15 at 1 p.m. central, which will include comprehensive television coverage from NBC Sports Network via same-day tape delay at 2:00 p.m. central. SiriusXM channel 211 will also provide coverage. For exact television and radio times, please check local listings.
Late last month, Veach made his first race start on the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, opening for the IZOD IndyCar Series hallmark event, the Indianapolis 500. The forth-year Andretti Autosport veteran placed fifth, matching his best career Indy Lights finish of the season, following a fifth-place finish on the Streets of St. Petersburg during the season-opening round.
This weekend, Veach enters the first back-to-back oval events of the 2013 season and should he borrow from 2010 where he put in two top-five results or from 2011 where he placed second, he will continue his growth pattern in the "Mazda Road to Indy" developmental ladder system. The teen is quick to admit that ovals are his true love, so he is confident that he can get his best start and finish of the season at the Milwaukee Mile. He currently is ranked eighth in the series point's standings in Indy Lights.
The Milwaukee IndyFest will feature a bevy of open-wheel racing series, including IndyCar, Indy Lights and the Pro Mazda series, which Veach competed in in 2012 but which did not compete at the Milwaukee Mile.
K12, the nation's largest provider of proprietary curriculum and online education programs for students in kindergarten through high school, just awarded Veach his school diploma and will continue this weekend as his primary sponsor. Supplementary backing will be from the Young Marines, a youth education and service program for boys and girls, age 8 through completion of high school.
Additionally Veach's Firestone Indy Lights effort is also supported by: ADS IT Solutions, Zakosi Data Backup, Replay XD, OMP, Bell Helmets, Got Chocolate Milk?, and Art Rotondo.
With team owner Michael Andretti, who is a five-time Milwaukee Mile winner, guiding young Veach, the Milwaukee Mile may very well be the home of his first Indy Lights win.