Today was the Zach Veach show at the Auto Club Speedway on the final day of the Formula Car Challenge Presented by Goodyear Winter Series. For the first race of the day, the National Race, he had secured pole position following yesterday’s rain-soaked qualifying session, but he would have to start at the back of the grid for the final Regional Race as result of his DNF. You can read about Saturday’s events here.
The National Race went as anticipated given Zach’s pace yesterday, and his performance at Infineon. He led the entire race from flag to flag and took his third win of the five-race series. Even with his DNF in Saturday’s race, the win meant that Zach needed only to take the green flag in the final race to secure the championship. That wasn’t going to be good enough for Mr. Veach, however. Starting from dead last, the 17-year-old Ohioan quickly sliced his way to the front of the grid and took the win in the fifth and final race of the championship, leading P2 by 15 seconds.
“Today went a little better than yesterday did. We managed to win the first race from the pole. Then in the second race we started from 14th and were able to move up to first within 20 feet of the start finish line on the end of the first lap. I’m really proud of what we accomplished here this weekend and can’t thank my crew enough for their hard work and support along the way. It’s a great honor to win the Formula Car Challenge Winter Championship and I would like to thank Michael (Andretti) for giving me this opportunity! This will create great momentum moving toward the 2012 Star Mazda season with Andretti Autosport and Zakosi Data Backup.” — Zach Veach, #77 Andretti Autosport
This mini-series gave Veach an excellent time to not only get more time to acclimate to the Star Mazda machine after racing USF2000 last year, but it also gave him a chance to experience the car in the heat of competition and learn not simply how it drives, but how it races. I’m thinking that starting from the back of the grid this afternoon might have been a blessing in disguised, a set-back turned into an opportunity.