Heavy rain at Barber Motorsports Park has forced INDYCAR to suspend the Grand Prix of Alabama until noon ET Monday. Only 23 laps were completed until the race was red-flagged due to treacherous track conditions.
Poleman and IndyCar Series reigning champion Josef Newgarden led every lap until the race was prematurely halted. Newgarden will pick up the lead when the race continues from where it left off on Monday.
The race began under rainy conditions that only grew stronger as the day went on. The cars made their way round the 2.3mi circuit before the green flag was waved for the 23-car field at the end of lap 1.
Another full-course yellow was triggered on lap 12 when Carlin’s Charlie Kimball came to a stop on track after making contact with a barrier. Kimball said that he had help from Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ed Jones, who ran into him and sent him into the wall at Turn 17.
“I was just going through the corner and he ran into the back of me,” Kimball said. “Apparently, the stewards reviewed it and no action taken and I vehemently disagree with that because, when you are driving your race, especially in the wet, you have to be conscious of where the cars are. Yeah, its hard to see, but at the same time it’s just a dumb move. He is not a rookie anymore and he needs to not be making rookie mistakes like that.”
Four laps later, the race was restarted but quickly went yellow again when Newgarden’s team-mate Will Power spun from second place on the front straight and crashed into the barrier at Turn 1.
“It’s just a real shame for everyone on the Verizon Chevy team,” Power said. “The car was good and we were doing our best out there, but it was really hard to see anything in front of me. The conditions were just so bad.
“As soon as I got to the front straight (on the restart), the car just came around and I tried to keep it off the wall, but it was hydroplaning and there was nothing I could do. I feel bad for the team and for the fans in this weather. Just too bad. Hopefully, our luck can turn around when we get to Indianapolis.”
After three more laps behind the pace car, INDYCAR ordered the entire field into the pit lane for a red-flag stoppage on lap 19 that lasted 37 minutes. Four more laps were completed behind the pace car before the field was called back into the pits for good.
Having waited nearly 90 minutes, INDYCAR officials determined that the track was still not suitable for racing and made the call to postpone the race until Monday. It is the first IndyCar Series race to be postponed since the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway in August 2016.
The official race clock was stopped at 44 minutes, 16 seconds, meaning that about 75 minutes remain to complete a two-hour timed race.