Another Mazda Road to Indy graduate will be running in the Indianapolis 500 this May. AJ Foyt, Jr. and Larry Foyt announced today that they would be fielding Zach Veach in the No. 40 Chevrolet, sponsored by the Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim .
Indy Women in Tech is also the sponsor for the LPGA event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this September from the 4th to the 10th. Four of the Brickyard Crossing golf course’s holes are inside the iconic oval track.
The No. 40 on the car signifies the number of years since Foyt’s fourth and final win at the Greatest Spectacle in racing, back in 1977. His other three wins came in 1961, 1964 and 1967.
Veach has been working on an IndyCar ride for the past 2 seasons and is on cloud nine now that the dream is finally coming to fruition. He is a testament to the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system – starting in USF2000 in 2010 and running for two seasons with Andretti Autosport, placing P5 or better in 16 out of 22 starts over those years – half of which were podium finishes, one of them with Zach on the top step with a win at Sebring to kick off 2011.
The Ohio-native moved up with Andretti to the Pro Mazda rung in 2012, finishing 10th overall in points and earning a ride in Indy Lights the following season. Veach finished 7th in points in 2013 and improved to third overall in 2014. He continued to impress with 17 of 26 starts ending in a Top 5 result, including 10 podiums with 3 of those being wins. In fact, Veach stood on the podium for all but 5 of the 14 races in 2014.
He searched for a full-time ride with an IndyCar team in 2015 but to no avail, making the decision to return to Indy Lights in 2016, this time with Belardi Racing. Veach continued to demonstrate his talent and focus with wins at Road America, Watkins Glen International, and the season finale at Laguna Seca. It seems that that decision to stay in the paddock and keeping his abilities sharp by being on track, finally paid off…
“It’s going to be kind of special. I was lost for words when I first knew this was going to be coming together. We had such a strong showing in IndyCar last fall, it’s made a lot of these conversations a lot easier. It still comes down to finding funding. Luckily we were able to do that in such a short period in the last couple of weeks. Very thankful for that.
To be starting things off at Indianapolis, that’s the most important race in the world to me. Being from a small town in Ohio, it’s always been my dream to make the name ‘Veach’ one of the names around Indianapolis history.”
Veach will be certain to make a strong run at the Cathedral of Speed this May, as it is still his hope to run a full-season in IndyCar. Hopefully one dream coming true will lead to another for the 22-year-old driver.
Just as he mentioned today though, it all really comes down to funding. And it’s my opinion that sponsors looking for drivers would be smart to start fighting over Zach Veach!
In addition to his impressive on-track work, Veach was named to CNN’s Intriguing People list in May 2010, named a NEXT Athlete in Motorsports by ESPN the Magazine in 2011, released a book that was featured on the NBC’s Today Show the same year, and even attending a taping of Oprah in 2010 to support the awareness of distraction-free driving. That show visit led to some networking with FocusDriven, and ultimately landed him the role of spokesperson with the company. Veach released ‘urTXT’, an app that sends an automated response if you’re driving. His work against distracted driving even gained him recognition by the United States Secretary of Transportation that year.
Zach has been a driver in Honda’s Fastest Seat in Racing in past years and has been helping out with those two-seater rides at the beginning of this season. That is, until he gets in his own single-seater IndyCar for the first time – the No. 40 Chevy with AJ Foyt Racing on May 15th, the first day of practice for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500.