The fine-tuning is over. All the preparations have been made. And now, all that’s left to do is crown a champion.
“Set-Up Saturday” at Homestead-Miami Speedway ended with the top two Sprint Cup title contenders leading Sprint Cup final practice for tomorrow’s season-ending Ford Ecoboost 400.
Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson went 1-2 in “Happy Hour,” with Kenseth’s top lap at 171.980 mph narrowly beating out Johnson’s at 171.647 mph.
However, Johnson – who leads Kenseth by 28 points for the championship going into tomorrow’s race – had the fastest 10-consecutive lap average in the session. Johnson’s first ten laps in the session averaged out at 167.905 mph.
On the overall chart, Brad Keselowski was third-quickest (171.559), followed by Martin Truex Jr. in fourth (171.342) and Kevin Harvick in fifth (170.864).
Kenseth starts on pole tomorrow, while Johnson starts seventh. Harvick, who is still in contention for the championship as well at 34 points behind Johnson, starts sixth.
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.