Mazda Road to Indy Open Wheel

2016 Indy Lights Series Year in Review: Zach Veach

This past season, Zach Veach found himself struggling a little in the first half, but certainly turned up the heat for the second half.


Points Finish: 4th

Car No.: 5

Driver Name: Zach Veach

Team Name: Belardi Auto Racing

Total Races: 18

Victories: 3 – Road America Race No. 1., Watkin’s Glen, Laguna Seca Race No. 2

Podiums: 8

Top-Fives: 11

Top-10s: 16

Average Start: 5.8

Average Finish: 5.6

DNFs: 0



It’s worth noting the season didn’t start off smoothly with Belardi Auto Racing as Veach finished 16th in the season opener at St. Petersburg. From there on, there were some highlights, but yet things weren’t as high as others expected with only three top-fives in the first eight races. However, the second half of the year was like a switch flipped, kicking off with a win at Road America.

From there on, Veach won two more times, posting only one finish outside of the top-five in the final nine races with five podium finishes. Ideally, Veach can say he entered the off-season in the perfect way as he won the season finale at Laguna Seca, to go with a win at Watkin’s Glen and a third in the two races before that.

Highlight of 2016 – The second half of the season with only one finish outside of the top-five in the final nine races, highlighted by five podium finishes.

Downfall of 2016 – The start of the season. If he could’ve been stronger in the first couple of events, he could’ve found himself right up there with Ed Jones and Santiago Urrutia.

Road/Street Course Analysis – In 15 races, Veach posted 10 top-five finishes – including all three of his wins. It’s safe to say he knows how to turn both left and right.

Oval Analysis – While he was unable to reach victory lane, he finished in the top-five at Iowa Speedway after leading 19 laps.

Notes for 2017 – While Veach tested with Belardi Auto Racing at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test, he has yet to commit to anything but is known to be pursuing a possible ride in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Veach told POPULAR SPEED last month he’s been speaking with three or four different teams about a possibility of racing for them, but now it’s about finding the funding he’s required to bring to the table to complete the deal.

“To be able to say I competed in a Verizon IndyCar Series race would take a lot of weight off my shoulders in being able to say I made it and been able to show that we can do it,” he said. “I think that’s a lot of the motivation behind this winter and we’re so close, and you can only be this close for a short time. You need to take advantage of the opportunity when you have it and shine when it’s your moment, and I think 2017 has the opportunity to be our moment. I think we can’t take anything for granted this winter and try anything we can to pull something together.”



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By Ashley McCubbin

Currently the Executive Editor for Popular Speed, Ashley McCubbin also runs Short Track Musings, while handling media relations for OSCAAR. Currently living in Bradford, Ontario, she spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area taking photos.