BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Sunday, April 22, 2018) – Heavy rain pounded Barber Motorsports Park throughout the day and forced suspension of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by America’s First on Lap 23. The race will be completed starting at noon ET Monday.
NBCSN will air the Verizon IndyCar Series race’s conclusion live starting at 11:30 a.m. ET. The Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcast begins at noon.
HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA: Unofficial lap report when suspended
The ninth annual Indy car race on the 2.3-mile permanent road course began in rainy conditions that grew progressively worse and substantially limited driver visibility. A pair of full-course cautions – the first when Charlie Kimball’s car came to a stop on track on Lap 12, the second when Will Power spun and hit the Turn 1 barrier on Lap 17 – preceded the first of two red-flag stoppages for declining track conditions on Lap 19.
Following a 37-minute delay, engines were restarted and the field completed four laps under caution behind the pace car before they were ordered into the pit lane once more. After nearly 90 minutes waiting out the rain, INDYCAR deemed the track lost for the day and announced postponement of the completion until Monday.
The race is scheduled for 90 laps or two hours, whichever comes first. When lead-lap cars cross the start/finish line for Monday’s resumption, 23 laps will be complete and about 75 minutes will remain on the race clock.
Pole sitter Josef Newgarden, the defending race winner at Barber driving the No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet this weekend, led every lap until the race was halted and will pick up in first place on Monday. Barber Motorsports Park announced that it will open its gates and allow fans to attend the conclusion without a ticket.
“It’s tough because we have so many people that come out here to watch us,” said Newgarden, the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion. “We want to put on a good race. We want to put on a show, so calling the race, it’s tough to do that.
“But I think it was the right thing in the end. When we started the race, the conditions were OK. You could run at that level of rain. Then it intensified right before that first caution. It got to a point where it was just too much. There was too much puddling and pooling of water.
“Look, we love racing in the rain. It’s got nothing to do with not wanting to run in the rain, not being able to do that. It’s this type of track with this water level was too much to race today.”
All cars will be permitted to continue in the race except Kimball’s No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet, which had been retired from the race following contact with the Turn 17 barrier that preceded him stopping on track. Power’s No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet may return to the race, but has been impounded overnight by INDYCAR so that no additional repairs may be made. Once the race clock resumes on Monday, Power’s crew may continue working on it.
Teams may choose to restart on either the Firestone primary or alternate dry-condition tire compound unless INDYCAR declares a wet-weather restart, in which case the rain tires must be used. Teams may also choose whatever quantity of ethanol fuel that want in the car for the restart.
The last time a Verizon IndyCar Series event started on one day and resumed on another came in 2016, when the Texas Motor Speedway race completed 72 laps in June before being halted by rain. It was resumed two months later.
In August 2016, the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway was rained out on its originally scheduled date and run in its entirety the following day.
Mazda Road to Indy race recap
Andretti Autosport’s Patricio O’Ward led every lap in wet and tricky conditions to complete a weekend sweep of the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires doubleheader. O’Ward won by 5.8325 seconds over Victor Franzoni (Juncos Racing).
In the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires, Harrison Scott (RP Motorsports Racing) drove to his first series victory. Scott inherited the lead on Lap 21 when Andres Gutierrez (Team Pelfrey) went off course. A full-course caution was ordered shortly after and Scott won the race under yellow.