until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


How a sewing machine spring kept an IndyCar driver racing

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

In practice for the IndyCar’s Michigan oval race on iRacing, Zach Veach’s pedal set broke and required an unusual fix to keep it operating.

It turned out to be vital for the Andretti Autosports driver, as he went on to lead the Michigan race and contend for the win, before being forced to pit for more fuel in the closing stages took him out of contention. He followed that up with an eighth-placed finish at Motegi last week.

“The way the pedal works, the spring is connected on the bottom of the throttle pedal,” Veach told The Race.

“As you compress the throttle pedal, it builds load onto the sensor and that’s how it knows what level of throttle you’re at.

“So for whatever reason mine was stopping at 40% because the spring was too weak.

“I was thrashing through the house trying to find something to replace it with. My girlfriend was the saviour, she said ‘I think a spring came out of of my sewing machine pedal one time that I had to fix’.

“So I just dove in, tore the sewing machine pedal apart, found a couple of springs and basically just Frankensteined the pedals together, and it worked for the time being!

“I got a lot of tweets from people saying ‘you’re going to be sleeping on the couch now!’ But she was all about it and just wanted to help!”

Veach is new to iRacing in the most part, and has only recently set-up his sim.

However, as many of drivers have found out, as well as putting in practice time on the simulator, extensive work is required in terms of working with engineers to perfect set-up and strategy ahead of the weekend.

“COTA this weekend has been close to real life because we’re comparing the data traces between Rossi, Harvey and myself,” added Veach. “Just to see where we’re getting the time at.

“The thing I really enjoyed was Michigan because I think we inherited the lead with like three laps to go.

“We knew we were going to be close on fuel and for the last 45 laps I had my engineer in the headset giving me a fuel number and I could hear the doubt in his voice that we were going to make it. Man, this is like the closest thing to real racing I’ve had!

“Those guys [engineers] are racers too and that’s why they do what they do and they want to be back to it just as much as we do and having them be part of it is giving them a fix in a way too!”

Veach will compete alongside newcomer and Supercars driver Chaz Mostert this weekend – who is swapping rides with Alexander Rossi – while outside of the Andretti squad Formula 1 driver Lando Norris is racing for Arrow McLaren SP.

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