Hunter-Reay leads Toronto IndyCar practice

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A pair of Americans led the IZOD IndyCar Series timesheets for its only weekend north of the border this year, as defending Honda Indy Toronto winner Ryan Hunter-Reay edged Josef Newgarden in IndyCar’s 90-minute lone practice before qualifying.

Hunter-Reay, driver of the No. 1 DHL Chevrolet for Andretti Autosport, lapped the 1.755-mile street circuit in 1:00.6082, with Newgarden in the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda next up at 1:00.6851.

Ryan Briscoe (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet) had his best session of the season in third, 1:00.6890, ahead of rookie Tristan Vautier and Marco Andretti. Vautier returns to orange, red and black Visit Florida colors for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports after four weekends in the blue and white of Coastal.com for the No. 55 Honda.

Canadians James Hinchcliffe and Alex Tagliani clocked in 11th and 14th on home soil. Mike Conway, returning in Dale Coyne Racing’s second car, was only 23rd of 24 cars.

Most of the session was spent practicing standing starts in preparation for race one of the weekend on Saturday, while Sunday’s race will have rolling starts.

There were two red flags, one for Will Power stopped in Turn 3, and the second for Dario Franchitti after he brushed the wall in Turn 5 and stopped in Turn 6.

UPDATE 2: INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama once again under red-flag race stoppage

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UPDATE No. 2: The INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama was closing in on restarting on Lap 23 or 24 before officials threw the second red flag race stoppage because of lingering puddles on the 2.3-mile Barber Motorsports Park, particularly on the front stretch. We’ll keep you updated as situations warrant.

UPDATE No. 1: 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.