Barber Race Pushed to Monday

Josef Newgarden leads wet Barber IndyCar race
Pole sitter Josef Newgarden remained in the lead throughout the attempt to run the 2018 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday, April 22, 2018. | Photo: Andy Clary / Spacesuit Media

After four yellow and two red flags limited running during Sunday’s attempt to complete this year’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, INDYCAR deemed the track conditions too unsafe and elected to continue on Monday.

Fans who tuned in to Sunday’s broadcast of the race on NBCSN beginning at 3 p.m. EDT saw little on-track action and were required to wait until 5:53 p.m. to find out that the remainder of the race would instead be run on Monday.

Sebastien Bourdais behind INDYCAR safety car at Barber
When the race is restarted, Sebastien Bourdais will be placed second behind Josef Newgarden. | Photo: Andy Clary / Spacesuit Media

That news from INDYCAR, coming nearly three hours after the live television coverage began, revealed that the race had bee postponed until Monday morning with an expected 11 a.m. CDT start.

Monday’s continuation will begin at the end of Lap 23 and continue until 90 laps or two hours are reached — whichever comes first. The laps and time already completed Sunday counts toward’s Monday’s rescheduled running, turning the Verizon IndyCar Series’ visit to Barber Motorsports Park this year into a sprint race. About 75 minutes remain on the race clock.

On Sunday, the race initially went green after one lap of caution for an extra sighting lap behind the safety car. Green-flag running lasted until the first full-course caution on Lap 12 when Carlin’s Charlie Kimball had stopped between Turns 5 and 6 after spinning following contact with Ed Jones.

The race went back to green on Lap 17. Leader Josef Newgarden nearly lost control as he approached Turn 1 just moments before his Team Penske teammate Will Power hydroplaned and spun into the inside wall.

Will Power crashes at 2018 Barber IndyCar race
Will Power crashed moments after the 2018 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama was restarted on Lap 17. | Photo: Andy Clary / Spacesuit Media

As Power came to a stop on the inside of the track, INDYCAR threw a third yellow flag, which transitioned to a red flag for poor track conditions at the conclusion of Lap 19.

After 37 minutes under the red flag with the 23-car field parked on pit lane, INDYCAR attempted to restart the race by bringing out a yellow flag which saw the field turn laps behind the safety car. Tony Kanaan had issues getting his No. 14 Chevrolet going and visited the pits for tires, fuel and a new steering wheel.

Four laps were run under caution but, ultimately, race control determined that the racing surface was too treacherous to let the green flag fly again. Instead, the red flag came back out at the conclusion of Lap 23. Unlike the first red flag, INDYCAR allowed drivers to exit their cars.

Rookies in rain at Barber IndyCar race
Many drivers disagreed with Race Control’s decision to start and restart the race under such treacherous conditions. | Photo: Andy Clary / Spacesuit Media

Kimball and his crashed No. 23 Chevrolet are officially retired from the race. Power will be allowed to return, but the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet will be impounded overnight and no work on it will be allowed until the race resumes.

Teams will be allowed to fit either Firestone primary or alternate tires to their cars to begin, unless Monday’s continuation of the race is also deemed a wet start. Teams may also choose how much fuel to start Lap 24 with.

The last time an IndyCar race started on one day and resumed on another came in 2016 when 72 laps of the series’ Texas Motor Speedway visit were completed in June before rain required a continuation date to be scheduled for two months later.

In August of that year, the originally scheduled race day at the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway was rained out and the race was run in its entirety the following day.

NBCSN’s live coverage of Monday’s attempt to complete the Barber race will begin at 11:30 a.m. EDT, with the green flag expected half an hour later.

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