Weather holds up IndyCar series
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CALLED OFF DUE TO A STORM, TEXAS EVENT WILL BE RESUMED IN AUGUST
After another soggy day in Texas, the IndyCar Series will wait until August before a third try to race.
Only 71 of the scheduled 248 laps were completed before rain in an approaching thunderstorm hit the track. That was 54 laps short of what was needed to make it an official race after the Firestone 600 had initially been postponed Saturday night (US time).
With a 50 per cent chance of more rain on Monday, IndyCar decided to resume the race August 27, which is during what had been an open weekend for the series.
“We maybe could have hung around, try to get dry tonight and run enough to get to halfway, but that’s not right,” said Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage. “It was pretty much unanimous too from the teams that they’d like to complete the race.”
The cars had taken the green flag about 40 minutes later than scheduled Sunday following work to dry the 1-mile track. The race had first been called off after several hours trying to dry the track after afternoon rain.
When the rain started again Sunday, the race was under caution while track officials worked to repair the safety barrier on the front stretch damaged by a hard crash involving Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly.
Newgarden was taken by helicopter to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, where he was treated for a broken right collarbone and a small fracture in his right hand. He was expected to be released from the hospital Sunday evening.
“I’m banged up a little bit, but I’m generally okay,” Newgarden said.
More than two hours after the red flag brought out by the rain, IndyCar president of competition Jay Frye and Gossage announced the decision to wait until August to try to complete the race.
The August resumption will be only one day in Texas, with a practice period earlier in the day before an autograph session and the race at night.
Gossage expressed frustration and said there was a lack of communication between IndyCar and track officials.
When the jet trucks were pulled off the track late Sunday morning, Gossage said he thought the track was ready. But he said IndyCar discovered an issue it felt needed to be addressed in Turn 2 soon before the race was scheduled to begin, with water on the apron near where cars exit pit road to get back onto the racing surface.
“Both of our faults,” Frye said.
“Frustrating, but we’re going to work that out,” Gossage said. “Maybe our fault, maybe their fault.”
This was the 28th scheduled IndyCar race at Texas, and the first since 2001 that was postponed. The series finale in 2001 was scheduled the weekend after the September 11 terrorist attack, but was pushed back three weeks to October.
IndyCar officials believe that is the last series race with an extended postponement. The last time an IndyCar race started and resumed another day was at Brazil in 2011, when the race was completed the next day.
James Hinchcliffe was shown the leader when the race was stopped, though Ryan Hunter-Reay’s team contended that he exited pit road ahead of Hinchcliffe during the caution before the red flag. Frye said IndyCar officials have already reviewed things to confirm Hinchcliffe as the leader.
“Ryan was passing to make sure he was on the lead lap, not a lap down, not for the lead,” Frye said.
While Frye said there could be some opportunity for Newgarden and Daly to resume the race, they “would be 35 laps down, or whatever they would be.”
The delay at Texas also pushed back the departure to France for three IndyCar Series drivers who are entered to run in the 24 hours of Le Mans race. Mikhail Aleshin, Sebastien Bourdais and Kiwi Scott Dixon were planning to go from driving at Texas to Le Mans.
Representatives for Bourdais and Dixon said that their drivers were still planning to leave immediately after the rescheduled IndyCar race on Sunday.