IndyCar Race 1 from Toronto postponed due to rain; revised Sunday schedule released (UPDATED)

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9 p.m. ET – We also have a channel change now confirmed for Race 1 on Sunday in Toronto. That will be airing on CNBC after the Formula One German Grand Prix. Coverage of IndyCar Race 2 will start at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

8:30 p.m. ET – A change has been made on the length of tomorrow’s two Verizon IndyCar Series races. Instead of 75 laps as initially stated, each race will run 65 laps or 80 minutes, whichever comes first.

A full Sunday schedule has now been released for all series in Toronto, as tweeted here by More Front Wing. All times are ET:

7:10 p.m. ET – We have an update on at least the IndyCar portion of the schedule for Sunday.

Race 1 will have a green flag at 10:30 a.m. ET, with a rolling start and the grid set by the qualifying positions as were qualified (Sebastien Bourdais on the pole). Cars 2 (Juan Pablo Montoya), 8 (Ryan Briscoe) and 12 (Will Power) will retain their original starting positions, as the race never technically started. They were due to incur penalties and be sent to the back.

Race 2 will have a green flag at 4:15 p.m., with a standing start and the grid set by entrant points entering the weekend (Helio Castroneves will be on pole). Both races will air on NBCSN.

The remaining schedule for support series races will be determined next.

6:25 p.m. ET – Persistent rains have forced IndyCar to postpone today’s Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader after two red flags and several incidents.

A revised schedule for tomorrow, which was to feature a second, 85-lap race for the Verizon IndyCar Series, will be released shortly.

All but three drivers were going to start today’s race on the Firestone alternate “red” slick tires, but steady pre-race showers caused IndyCar to declare the race as a wet start, putting the drivers on rain tires.

The rain appeared to pick up even further during pace laps and a pre-emptive red flag was waved due to driver visibility issues. Graham Rahal, who started in Row 8, had this to say over his Rahal Letterman Lanigan team’s radio:

Cars were released back to the teams for a 10-15 minute period in which adjustments could be made to them before they went back out. Race Control also decided that because of conditions, the standing start would be abandoned in favor of a single-file rolling start.

But after the first red flag ended and the field came back out to the track for another set of pace laps, several incidents occurred.

Ryan Briscoe went into the tires at Turn 5 but was able to reverse and keep going – albeit at the cost of his starting spot. Then after the field got the one-to-go signal, the Honda pace car slid and spun off-course at Turn 3.

The pace car then pulled off early, but as the field was heading for the green flag, Will Power lost control in Turn 10 and slammed into the inside wall.

Race Control declared no start as Power’s No. 12 Team Penske crew pushed his wounded car back to their pit box for rear suspension repairs.

But when a second red flag came out just before 5 p.m. ET, that proved to be a lucky break for Team Penske, which was allowed to continue working on repairing Power’s car.

A few minutes after 5:30 p.m. ET, the No. 12 was spotted being rolled back to pit road.

Not everyone was happy about that, with Andretti Autosport team owner Michael Andretti telling NBCSN that it was a violation of the rules.

“If this thing goes green, we’re gonna have to talk about it,” said Andretti at the time. “Because they basically allowed them to work on their car when nobody else was allowed to touch their cars. So why are they having an exception over the rest of the cars in the field?

“It’ll be interesting, if this thing does goes green, what the rest of the field [thinks] – I’m sure we’re not the only ones that feel that way about it. Stay tuned.”

However, since the No. 12 crew was allowed to make repairs under the red, Power had to start the race from the rear of the field, not his second-place qualifying position.

Still, Power – who sits just nine points behind teammate Helio Castroneves for the top spot in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship – was happy that his team was able to repair his car after his mistake.

“What’s the chance of that – my guys did a phenomenal job,” Power told NBCSN. “And the time that they got that thing fixed! It’s unbelievable to be sitting back in pit lane.”

Also due to be starting from the rear was Briscoe (because of his earlier run-in with the Turn 5 tires) and Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified 11th. IndyCar eventually explained why Montoya was being sent to the rear:

During this second red flag, IndyCar also said that the race distance would be shortened to 65 laps or 90 minutes, whichever came first.

However, since the schedule is now being revised for Sunday, it’s unknown if this part will be carried over.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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