Ominous skies over Astrodome (Tony DiZinno)

IndyCar Race 2 qualifying canceled due to rain; field set by entrant points (UPDATED)

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UPDATE, 11:47 a.m. ET: Minutes ago, INDYCAR announced a correction on its part regarding the grid for Race 2 of the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.

According to Rule B of the IZOD IndyCar Series rule book, in the event of a cancellation of qualifying, the starting field will be set by the entrant points going into the event – which, in Houston’s case, means the entire weekend, not individual races.

As a result, it will be Helio Castroneves – not Scott Dixon – that will start today’s 90-lap race on the pole in his No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet. Going into the Houston weekend (and, obviously, before Saturday’s Race 1), Castroneves’ No. 3 car led, 486-452, in entrants’ points over Dixon’s No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Here’s your new starting lineup for today’s event:

IZOD IndyCar Series – Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston Race 2
Official Starting Lineup

Row 1
3-Helio Castroneves

9-Scott Dixon

Row 2
77-Simon Pagenaud
25-Marco Andretti

Row 3
1-Ryan Hunter-Reay
19-Justin Wilson

Row 4
10-Dario Franchitti
27-James Hinchcliffe

Row 5
12-Will Power
83-Charlie Kimball

Row 6
11-Tony Kanaan
5-E.J. Viso

Row 7
7-Sebastien Bourdais
67-Josef Newgarden

Row 8
14-Takuma Sato
18-Mike Conway

Row 9
78-Simona de Silvestro
20-Ed Carpenter

Row 10
15-Graham Rahal
16-James Jakes

Row 11
4-Oriol Servia
55-Tristan Vautier (R)

Row 12
98-Luca Filippi
6-Sebastian Saavedra

ORIGINAL, 10:00 a.m. ET: After two days of unrelenting heat and humidity, now there’s been another monkey wrench thrown into this weekend’s Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston IndyCar doubleheader: a 20-degree temperature drop and persistent rain.

The qualifying for the second race of the weekend and 18th of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season is on an indefinite hold due to the rain and track conditions not allowing the water to drain that well.

Pace cars have been sent out to survey the circuit. A USF2000 race and Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTS race are scheduled before the IndyCar TV window and race, beginning at 1 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

We’ll update things as we hear further developments.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves
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MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the driver-by-driver field in the Verizon IndyCar Series. In 15th and the rookie-of-the-year for 2015, was Gabby Chaves.

Gabby Chaves, No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda

  • 2014: Indy Lights champion
  • 2015: 15th Place, Best Finish 9th, Best Start 12th, 0 Top-5, 2 Top-10, 31 Laps Led, 19.3 Avg. Start, 14.4 Avg. Finish

Some drivers finish better than their performances show. Some drivers have performances better than their results show. The latter statement applied to Gabby Chaves in his rookie year, in what was an impressive first season after making the step up from Indy Lights, which deservedly earned him rookie-of-the-year honors.

The best comparison I’d make for Gabby is of Josef Newgarden in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, a first-year driver on a single-car, newish team to the series.

Chaves rarely dazzled in qualifying but that wasn’t his fault; he and engineer John Dick worked well together and Chaves recounted multiple times this year that a tweak here or tweak there, the wrong way, on the aero kit would send them down the wrong setup path.

Results in races didn’t measure up either but again that was through almost no fault of his own. The only time Chaves looked truly like a rookie was at St. Pete, when he had several collisions. Otherwise he was ahead of eventual winner James Hinchcliffe at NOLA before getting punted off, reliable through the month of May in Indianapolis, finally able to break through for a ninth place in Detroit race two, overachieving in Texas, 11th at Milwaukee after some great wheel-to-wheel racing with series winners and champions, and then phenomenal at Pocono as he was on course for a first career win or podium before late-race engine issues – his first DNF of the season.

For both Chaves and Herta, you’d love to see them together for another season, and the results and confidence for both parties will grow as a result. Those who’ve seen Newgarden’s rise over four years with Fisher and now CFH will note the long-term stability, and that’s what Chaves could do if he gets the time.

He planted the seed of being a great IndyCar driver, and he became pretty versatile during the year too with additional appearances in the DeltaWing prototype, a short-track midget and one of Herta’s Red Bull Global Rallycross cars. To boot, he’s a smart, great kid who is mature beyond his years, and someone you should be buying stock in now. Anyone who saw Chaves in the Mazda Road to Indy should not have been surprised by his rookie season in the big cars.

Off The Grid: Monza preview (premieres Saturday 10/10 on NBCSN)

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
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Having already taken you behind the scenes in Barcelona, Budapest, Singapore, Melbourne and Silverstone, Will Buxton and Jason Swales now head to one of Formula 1’s most iconic venues for the latest episode of Off The Grid.

Monza has appeared in all but one F1 season since the formation of the world championship in 1950, and is a firm favorite among drivers, teams and fans alike.

However, there is far more to the Italian Grand Prix than meets the eye, as we find out in Saturday’s premiere of Off The Grid: Monza at 9:30am ET (follows Russian GP qualifying).

Having honed his talents in go-karts as a kid, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is now trying to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of racers. But can he teach Will or Jason a thing or two?

We also catch up with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and get a feel for life on the road as he takes us for a tour of his lavish bus in which he travels in for the European F1 races.

Have you ever wondered just how the suits F1 drivers wear are made? We go behind the scenes at Alpine Stars’ factory in Italy and find out.

Off The Grid: Monza premieres on Saturday at 9:30am ET on NBCSN following Russian GP qualifying.