FORT WORTH — In a 20-minute press conference Sunday evening at Texas Motor Speedway, track president Eddie Gossage and INDYCAR president of competition and operations Jay Frye explained why the Firestone 600 has been rescheduled for completion on Saturday, Aug. 27 due to rain on Saturday and Sunday.
“After a lot of consultation this afternoon, it was quite a meeting of people, everybody was on their phones up there calling all the right folks,” Gossage said.
The “right folks,” which included race teams, decided the race originally set for Saturday night under the lights will resume from Lap 72 with James Hinchcliffe in the lead, which is dictated by the IndyCar rule book.
“It’s pretty specific that we need to pick up where we left off,” Frye said. “(We will) run the race that night continuing from where we left with the intent of getting an entire race in for our fans and the fans here at Texas Motor Speedway. This is unique, it hasn’t happened for a little while but there are a lot of unique things here and we’ll look forward to coming back August 27.”
The race race will come a week after the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway.
The conclusion of the 248-lap race will begin around 7 p.m. CT, and will come after one practice and an autograph session earlier in the day featuring every Verizon IndyCar driver present at the race.
“We felt that was the best way to best serve all the fans,” Gossage said. “The lightning is still going on out there, we maybe could have hung around trying to get it dry for tonight and run enough to get to halfway, but that’s not right. We want to give the fans a race today.”
Gossage called it “kind of an unprecedented situation” and that it was “pretty much unanimous” among race teams that they wanted to complete the race.
The last time an IndyCar race was completed on a day later than it was started was in Brazil in 2011. The race was finished on May 2, after starting May 1.
The Firestone 600 was stopped on Lap 72 after 30 laps of caution following a nasty crash involving Conor Daly and Josef Newgarden. Newgarden was airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital for evaluation of his right hand and right shoulder, and later confirmed to have a fractured right clavicle and small fracture to his right hand.
Frye said both drivers would be given the chance the rejoin the race on Aug. 27, but they would be scored where they were when the red flag was displayed.
Gossage said any ticket for the Firestone 60 can be used at any Texas Motor Speedway event in the next calendar year for a ticket of equal or lesser value.
“Everybody loses in this deal, unfortunately,” Gossage said.
Said Frye, “On the expense side, this is a big expense for us too. The race teams, they all have to come back. We all got to come back. We want to do this for the fans. We want to put on a great event.”
This is the second TMS race impact by rain this year. The April NASCAR Sprint Cup race was delayed a few hours but was able reach its conclusion.