VEACH CLINCHES USF2000 WINTERFEST CHAMPIONSHIP
Sophomore Driver Veach Uses Two Race Wins To Capture The $10,000 Championship
Homestead, FL. (Jan. 13, 2011) Andretti Autosport driver Zach Veach used two race wins and three pole positions to capture the Cooper Tires USF2000 Winterfest championship, his first career championship in the "Mazda Road to Indy" developmental ladder system. Veach was $10,000 richer when he crossed the finish line Thursday afternoon at Homestead-Miami Speedway, capping a five-race winter tour in his No. 7 ZAKOSI Data Backup Mazda.
"It's an honor to be the first champion in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Winterfest along with getting my first two wins in the Series," said Veach, who away from the racetrack serves as a spokesperson for FocusDriven to help put an end to distracted driving. "I'm really excited to see what we can do with the Zakosi Data Backup car in the main season and go for that championship as well. We have some stuff to work on when we get home between now and the first in-season race at Sebring but I'm really looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish. I can't thank my team, Andretti Autosport, enough for giving me a good car, my crew for working so hard and to Mazda and Cooper Tires for putting on this winter series."
The 16-year-old from Stockdale, Oh., opened the 2011 USF2000 Winterfest championship at Sebring International Raceway on Jan 3 by dominating all four USF2000 practice sessions and earning the pole position for both Sebring race events. While his first race ended with a gearbox failure, he connected in Race No. 2 to take his first career USF2000 race-win.
Veach then resumed the USF2000 Winterfest tour by heading farther South to Homestead-Miami Speedway where he'd continue to clean up on the racetrack. He traded the top position in the two practice sessions with his Andretti Autosport Teammate Spencer Pigot, before landing in at a starting and finishing position of second in the third race event.
While Veach was a nominee for Sports Illustrated's annual 'Sports Kid of the Year' award in 2010 for his performance on the racetrack, the sophomore driver knew his final two Winterfest races would need to be his best demonstration of his racecraft to clinch the championship.
The 5'2" teen racer wasted no time in making sure he'd be best positioned to win the overall USF2000 Winterfest championship by opening Thursday's early-morning qualifying session with a pole award. He led every lap in race No. 4, positioning himself five points in the lead going into the final USF2000 Winterfest event.
His final race began from Row 2 as driver-starting positions were based off of the driver's best time in Race No. 3 the day prior. Rolling from the third position, Veach battled with teammate Pigot down to the wire before finishing the race second and sealing his title fate.
In all, Veach earned three $500 Cooper Tires "Don't Give Up a Thing"; Pole awards, was awarded $1,000 for each of his two race wins, put in four top-five finishes and four podium results on his way to the overall championship. Veach plans to use his championship check in the amount of $10,000 for his race entries throughout the 2011 USF2000 National Championship race season which kicks off March 17 at Sebring International Raceway.
Veach also gave his team, Andretti Autosport, their second USF2000 championship following former teammate Sage Karam, who captured the 2010 USF2000 National Championship before advancing to the Star Mazda Championship for the 2011 racing season.