IndyCar push-to-pass standardized for 2013

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After it went through several different iterations last year, IndyCar’s “push-to-pass” overtake assist system will be standardized for 2013, starting this weekend at St. Petersburg.

The system itself allows for a turbocharger boost from 21.7 Psi to 23.2 Psi and additional 200 RPM with the push of a button located on the steering wheel.

Drivers will have 10 total pushes to use at their discretion on all road and street course venues this season. At St. Petersburg this weekend, along with Detroit, Sonoma, Baltimore and Houston, each push will last 15 seconds, for a total of 150 seconds available throughout the race.

The remaining road and street circuits (Barber, Long Beach, Sao Paulo, Toronto, Mid-Ohio) all have at least one longer straight than the other five, and as such have longer push-to-pass time available. Those races will still have 10 pushes but each will last 20 seconds, for a total of 200.

In the past, drivers could use it both in offensive or defensive mode; a leading driver might, for instance, use his or her system at the same time as someone behind them hits theirs. But according to IndyCar vp of technology Will Phillips, that’s not necessarily going to be the case this season.

“If the driver chooses to use one, they can’t cancel it. It’s use it or lose it,” he said. “That in itself makes it more difficult to choose to use as a defense mechanism rather than as an overtaking opportunity. You’ll have to be careful because there are only 10 opportunities to use it during a race. The length of each push of the button should cover the longest straight, if that’s where they choose to use it, of each circuit.”

UPDATED: INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama under red-flag race stoppage due to rain

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UPDATE: The INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is under a red-flag race stoppage after 19 laps due to rain and puddling on the racing surface at Barber Motorsports Park.

Cleaners and dryers are on the track to try and get some of the water off the racing surface. The low spots on the track, as well as the front stretch, have been particularly troublesome and led to several spinouts and at least two wrecks (Charlie Kimball and outside front pole sitter Will Power).

Power’s day is done after suffering irreparable damage to the left side of his car after hydroplaning on the front straight and running into the inside retaining wall.

ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS:

Although rain has been falling for nearly an hour and the Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile permanent road course is drenched, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is underway on NBCSN.

The start of the race was moved up from 3:38 p.m. ET to take the green flag at 3:08 p.m. ET.

Josef Newgarden is the defending winner of this race and also will start from the pole for today’s race.

While the race is scheduled for 90 laps, there’s a possibility that if the weather worsens or if lightning appears, it could potentially be shortened to just two hours.

As can be expected, all cars are on rain tires to maximize grip.

Catch the race live on NBCSN.