In the midst of his second season in the NTT IndyCar Series, Zach Veach has not been able to have as smooth as a campaign as he would have hoped for, with just a pair of top-10 finishes. Though with both of those coming on the streets of Detroit, it’s no surprise the Andretti Autosport driver is confident heading into this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto. After all, he was able to score a seventh-place finish in Canada last season.
Prior to hitting the Toronto track for the first time in 2019, Veach shared his thoughts with POPULAR OPEN WHEEL.
POPULAR OPEN WHEEL: What are your thoughts going into the Honda Indy Toronto?
ZACH VEACH: I mean, it’s coming up really fast, but Toronto is a place that a lot of us look forward to. Not only because it’s a great race track, but the culture around the event is a fun atmosphere to be in. it’s also one of those places that we go to that still feels historically special. Plus, the Canadian fans are so passionate about the support.
POW: What is the toughest part of the Toronto track?
ZACH: I think the toughest part of Toornto is the brutality of the circuit, actually. Its very bumpy; its always trying to rip the wheel out of your hands. The last three corners – that nine, 10, 11 section, you get it wrong the slightest bit, it’s going to be a pretty big impact. Everybody is always tip-toeing through there, but also trying to do what they can to be quick. There’s a big balance of give-and-take around that place, much moreso than anywhere else.
POW: You ran well last year in Toronto. How much does that help the confidence?
ZACH: Last year was really good. We hope to repeat that, possibly do even better. We were able to best our finishes in both races in Detroit; that’s another very bumpy street course, so if we can best our finish in Toronto that’d be great. It’s one of those races honestly that if you just have a clean day, and don’t get tangled up in the drama or touch any of the walls, you’re going to find yourself in the top-10 because you were able to keep it clean and at that place, it’s very hard to do so.
POW: What are your thoughts on the season thus far?
ZACH: Yeah, it’s not been what we’ve expected. We’ve had a lot more lows than highs, and we’re always working to change that as much as we can. It’s been kind of an awkward year. We’ve definitely had really good speed in places; it just hasn’t come together when we’ve needed it too. So we’re doing everything we can to change that.
POW: What do you feel that you and the team can do better to be stronger in the second half?
ZACH: it’s just consistency with making sure that we have the speed when it counts. We’ve been kind of bouncing around on certain things and everybody is working super hard – which I appreciate. We just need to tidy up some things as a whole, and then we’ll be able to create some better luck at that point.
POW: What track are you most looking forward to in the second half?
ZACH: I’d say the track that I am most looking forward to is Iowa (Speedway), just because that place is so much fun and we’re getting an extra 40-horsepower on the short ovals this year. But there’s a lot to look forward to. The second half of the season is honestly one of my favorites just because of all the tracks we go to are a lot of fun. Mid-Ohio, Pocono, Gateway, Toronto even – so it’s the prime time of the year.
POW: What track do you wish was on the schedule that currently isn’t?
ZACH: Milwaukee Mile, 100%. That’s one place that is missing. I think I ran there three or four years, but never started off the front row and never finished worse than third. It was just a place that was good to me.
POW: There’s a lot of different drivers coming up through the Road to Indy. What’s the biggest thing that you learned from that experience?
ZACH: I mean, driving wise, the technical side was big as working with an engineer in Indy Lights is very serious. So it gives you a good foundation to get you started. But the driving side is the driving side. I think the most important thing that I learned is don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call someone that you could have a relationship with, sponsorship wise.
That’s the one thing that saved me was my relationship that came together with my current sponsor came together through a phone call. I think a lot of people feel slightly uncomfortable doing that, because it’s an awkward thing to do. But I think coming from the driver, making that effort and commitment to the phone call, goes a lot more further than having a manager or agent do it for you.
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