Mother Nature wreaked havoc on the IndyCar race weekend in June, but the race is set to resume eight weeks later, Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.
Drivers will complete the final 177 laps of the 248-lap Firestone 600, after the race was red-flagged because of rain. The race should be completed within 90 minutes, if that, and IndyCar and TMS have tried to make the best of a dire situation.
71 laps completed in June, 53 laps short of the halfway mark of 124 needed to make the 248-lap race official
There will be a practice session from 4:35-5 p.m., all drivers will host an autograph session in the concourse from 5:30-6:15 p.m. and the race will resume at 8:15 p.m.
Five things to know about the race:
1. The race must be resumed. IndyCar rules state that the race cannot be restarted. Therefore, it will start on Lap 72 with James Hinchcliffe in the lead. Ryan Hunter-Reay will start second and Mikhail Aleshin will start in third. This is the first IndyCar race to start one day and finish on another since 2011 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. On the bright side, in June the open-wheel racing had been better than in recent years during the early laps. There wasn’t as much single-file racing. Drivers passed and made moves, much like the glory days in the early years of the track.
2. Newgarden, Daly out. A scary accident occurred in June between Josef Newgarden and rookie Conor Daly. Newgarden sustained multiple injuries when he got upside down and had his cockpit exposed during a secondary hit to the wall. He was airlifted to a hospital with right shoulder and right wrist injuries. Both cars were heavily damaged and were not usable that night. Because the accident occurred on Lap 42 and each driver is out of contention, neither is eligible to resume the race in a different car.
3. Championship impact. Simon Pagenaud didn’t have the smoothest transition to Team Penske a year ago, failing to visit Victory Lane. But he has thrived in his second season with the powerhouse team and is the heavy favorite to win the series championship. Pagenaud has four wins and is looking to fend off Will Power and Helio Castroneves down the stretch. Pagenaud had the worst run of the three going, though, and is in 15th when the race resumes. Power is in fourth, and Castroneves is in seventh. TMS president Eddie Gossage jokingly wanted to land the series finale so the champion would be crowned in Texas, but gladly settled for this pivotal date.
4. Supporting the blue. TMS and IndyCar have partnered to “back the blue” during the race in the wake of Dallas police shootings. The cars will have “back the blue” decals, and the drivers will wear ball caps of law enforcement agencies as a sign of support. The track has given 200 tickets to the Dallas and Fort Worth police departments. Fort Worth officer Matt Pearce, who was shot seven times during a manhunt in March, will serve as the race’s grand marshal.
200 tickets to the Firestone 600 given to each the Dallas and Fort Worth police departments
5. Tickets. Fans who had tickets for the June race may use those for Saturday. If fans are not able to make this race, TMS will let them exchange those tickets for another race within the year for equal or lesser value. Fans can purchase tickets for as low as $28 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. A special includes two frontstretch tickets, a scanner and two earbuds for $49. Tickets can be purchased through the track’s website or by calling 817-215-8500.
8:15 p.m. Saturday, NBCSN