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.

Hunter-Reay released from hospital; not yet cleared to drive at Pocono

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Ryan Hunter-Reay has been released from a nearby hospital at Pocono Raceway after his accident in qualifying for Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) but has not yet been cleared to drive. He’ll be re-evaluated by INDYCAR Sunday morning.

The full release from INDYCAR and Andretti Autosport is below:

Verizon IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay was evaluated at Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Saturday for injuries to his left hip and knee sustained in a crash in qualifying for the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway. Hunter-Reay was treated and released but has not been cleared to drive, pending a re-evaluation Sunday morning.

“During qualifying today, out of nowhere, the car stepped out on me,” Hunter-Reay said. “It was a bit of a wiggle, which I caught. The second time it happened, it came with no warning – which is a bit confusing. I hit my hip pretty bad as well as my knee, so the doctors thought it would be best to go in for further evaluation. After a CT scan and MRI, I am able to go and get a good night’s sleep. I’m sure I’ll wake up sore, but will hopefully be able to get back in the DHL machine tomorrow.

“I know the entire Andretti Autosport team worked hard to get the car put back together and with 500 miles, there is still a chance to win from the back of the field. I can’t thank the Holmatro Safety Team enough for their quick response along with the medical staff at INDYCAR, Pocono and Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest. Also, thank you to the fans for reaching out with their support.”

IndyCar Paddock Pass: Pocono (VIDEO)

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NBCSN’s coverage of the Verizon IndyCar Series continues this weekend with the series trip to the “Tricky Triangle” for the ABC Supply 500 (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

The NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass also continues for another episode from the three-turn oval, Pocono Raceway, in Long Pond, Pa.

NBCSN IndyCar pit reporter and Indy Lights analyst Anders Krohn checks in for the latest edition of the show, which you can see above.

On tap in this week’s episode are interviews with Team Penske teammates Josef Newgarden and Will Power, and Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Hunter-Reay led first practice; however was involved in a heavy accident in qualifying later Saturday afternoon and transported to a nearby hospital.

His status is unclear for Sunday.

Newgarden leads the championship but had a tough qualifying run – he was only 14th Saturday afternoon – while Power was second among Chevrolets and starts fifth. He is the defending Pocono race winner.

You can see the episode above. Past IndyCar Paddock Pass episodes are below:


Chaves, Harding continue to shine at Pocono

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LONG POND, Pa. – In two previous starts in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season, Gabby Chaves and Harding Racing have been shining stars, finishing ninth at the Indianapolis 500 and fifth at the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, avoiding several crashes and incidents in both races to do so, and advancing from 25th and 20th on the grid, respectively.

Returning to the series for this weekend’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway (Sunday 2:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN), the combination continues its remarkably strong form, qualifying eighth for Sunday’s race, third fastest of the Chevrolet runners.

And with the goal of turning the team into a full-time effort next year, Chaves and the team appear to be picking up right where they left off.

“We’re just here to improve our team, get it ready for next year,” Chaves told NBC Sports. “We’d like to go home with a great result of course, that’s always the aim. But I think the work we did throughout the practice improved the car enough to wear I was pretty comfortable at the end.”

Of course, even though the team is still very new to the world of racing (their first race was this year’s Indianapolis 500), it doesn’t stop Chaves from having lofty expectations.

“You always want to shoot for the win,” he asserted when asked about expectations for this weekend’s ABC Supply 500. “Obviously it’s never easy – with the limited time we have on track, it just makes it even harder on top of it. We’re always trying to keep our expectations high and do the best job we can to accomplish them.”

Gabby Chaves and Harding Racing have been very impressive out of the box. Photo: IndyCar

And perhaps Chaves is right to have big expectations given the team’s first two races. Ninth at Indianapolis and fifth at Texas are genuinely impressive results for the brand new team. And on the surface, they are a surprise, given the organization itself hadn’t run any races at any level prior to this year. But, Chaves explained that the people involved in the team are more than familiar with the sport and know how to build a successful operation.

“It’s just a matter of having the right people involved,” Chaves said of their early success. “Our team owner, Mike Harding, is very dedicated to making sure that we have the means to go out and hire the best people we can. It’s hard to do when the full-time teams have already got most of those guys, but there’s a few guys left out there who are very quality guys. Then that comes down to our team manager, Larry Curry, who has been able to track down these guys and give them a good offer to come on board with us. We’re just going to get better from here.”

Specifically, team manager Curry has been instrumental in recruiting talent and helping the team get ahead of the game, as Chaves explained.

“When it came down to our Indy deal, we started getting our car ready, and a little bit through his connections, we were able to get our mockup engine a little sooner, our body fit sooner – enough that we had the time to go out and test and do a shakedown run at Texas before Indy. It’s that type of experience and knowledge that Larry brings to the team that helps us out.”

NBCSN’s Robin Miller reported earlier this weekend in a piece for RACER.com that the team is ready for a full season in 2018, with Harding also telling the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network’s Jake Query that “100 percent number” Miller cited is closer to 95 percent.

Chaves stopped short of going that far, but feels confident that a full-season effort will come together.

“Obviously, our plans are still to go out and run the full season. I’d say every day we get closer and closer to that. I’d say it’s looking really good. I know (Robin Miller’s report) mentions 100% – I think we’re close to that. But, it’s not done until it’s done. So I’ll just keep focused on my job here this weekend.”

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Power tops final practice at Pocono

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LONG POND, Pa. – Team Penske’s Will Power topped final practice for tomorrow’s ABC Supply 500 from Pocono Raceway. Power’s best lap of 216.294 mph was turned late in the session and pipped teammate Simon Pagenaud for the top spot, making it a Team Penske 1-2 in final practice. Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Max Chilton and Tony Kanaan were third and fourth, the best of the Honda teams, while Helio Castroneves rebounded from his earlier qualifying crash to end the session in fifth, putting three Penske cars in the top five.

Of note: pole sitter Takuma Sato was 11th quickest and Ed Carpenter was 16th, Carpenter having missed qualifying as Ed Carpenter Racing made repairs to his No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet and missed the lineup time for pre-qualifying inspection by only a few minutes.

Also: Andretti Autosport’s No. 28 DHL Honda, usually piloted by Ryan Hunter-Reay, did not venture onto the track for final practice, with Hunter-Reay currently being evaluated at a local hospital following a qualifying crash.

Times are below. Tomorrow’s ABC Supply 500 begins at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

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