What has changed for Zach Veach, after a slow rookie year in 2013?
What a difference a year makes. Last year, Zach Veach was new to the Indy Lights series and finished on the podium one time. This year he’s won a pole position, one race and got a second place finish at Long Beach. But what’s changed from last year to this year for Veach?
“We learned a lot last year, we made a lot of mistakes and we want to make sure we don’t make them again this season,” Veach said.
Veach moved up to Indy Lights in 2013 after spending 2012 in what is now known as the Pro Mazda championship. He spent much of 2013 in the midfield but led the most laps at Milwaukee before finishing 3rd. However, offseason preparation might be one of the keys to his newfound form.
“I’ve gained about 15 pounds over the winter, so just driving the car has become a lot easier so instead of worrying about if I’m going to make the race, I have a lot more time to think about it,” Veach said.
Preparation isn’t limited to the driver, however. Preparation is a whole team effort.
With that kind of effort, it’s easy to see how he and the team have improved this year compared to last. Expectations.
“Last year we were just happy to get on the podium, last year was all about learning for us and we wanted some good results. This year, the big thing is we want to win the championship, we want to do whatever it takes to be able to say that we were the 2014 Indy Lights champion,” Veach said.
Veach’s off to a great start. He leads Gabby Chaves by a single point because qualifying was rained out for St. Petersburg, so Chaves did not earn a bonus point for pole position. However, the new race format for Barber could see Veach’s advantage grow, or disappear entirely.
“For us, they’re doing kind of a new thing, the first race is a sprint race of 30 laps or 40 minutes and the second race is going to be 40 laps or 60 minutes,” Veach said.
His newfound strength will need to be there if he’s going to finish high in the second race, but we’ll see after the checkered flag falls.