7.6.13 (via The Morning Call) – Zach Veach said his hometown of Stockdale, Ohio, is a "football and baseball kind of town."
Some of the kids there didn't necessarily warm up to a budding race car star.
"I found out the hard way that I fit perfectly inside a locker," Veach said. "And I also found out that Dumpsters are kind of disgusting things."
Veach can smile now about those incidents that seem straight out of a TV sitcom, but he knows full well that bullying is no laughing matter.
"I was bullied both physically and verbally as a kid," he said. "Being a very small guy, I was an easy target. At one point I thought I wasn't going to chase this opportunity because of what was being said to me, but looking back, I am happy I didn't listen. I was going to prove those guys wrong one way or the other."
There is no bullying Veach when he's on the track, which he will be Saturday, July 6, during the Indy Lights race at Pocono Raceway, part of IndyCar's return to the "Tricky Triangle."
Veach, a member of the potent Andretti Autosport team, will be one of two Americans in the eight-car field. The other is his friend and racing rival, Nazareth High's Sage Karam, a former Andretti Autosport teammate.
Like Karam, Veach is just 18 years old, and the two of them could foster one of the great IndyCar rivalries of the future, something that could provide sparks more common on the NASCAR circuit.
"We grew up together," Veach said. "We've done a lot of things together. That makes it a whole different kind of warfare when we're out there on the track. It's good to have a friend in this sport, but it's also hard to have a friend in this sport."