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Firestone 600 stopped by rain after 71 laps, will be completed Aug. 27

FORT WORTH, Texas (Sunday, June 12, 2016) – The Firestone 600 will have to wait another day for its completion. Another two months, in fact.

The scheduled 248-lap event at Texas Motor Speedway – the ninth race of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season – was stopped after 71 laps today by heavy rain. INDYCAR and track officials announced that the race was suspended and will be completed Aug. 27as a night race.

“We certainly want to come back and have a full race for the fans here in Texas,” said Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations. “The people at TMS do a great job, so what we will do, per our rulebook, is start the race from where we stopped. So we will come back and start the race from that point.

“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 Aug. 27.”

The race was originally scheduled for Saturday night, but lingering wet track conditions from daylong rain prevented it from starting. The 22-car field took the green flag at 2:48 p.m. ET today, but was able to complete only 71 laps on the 1.455-mile oval before storms returned.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver James Hinchcliffe was leading the race when the red flag came out. The cars will restart the race in August in the same order in which they were scored at the completion of Lap 71.

“We maybe could have hung around and try to get it dry tonight and run enough to get halfway, but that’s not right,” said Eddie Gossage, Texas Motor Speedway president. “We want to give the fans a race. That’s the plan.”

The last Verizon IndyCar Series race to start one day and finish on another came at Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2011. The race was red-flagged for rain and standing water on the track after nine laps May 1 and finished the next day. The last time an event was postponed until later in the season was at Texas Motor Speedway in 2001, when the race scheduled for Sept. 15 was delayed until Oct. 6 following the 9/11 tragedies.

Drivers Conor Daly and Josef Newgarden were involved in the only incident of the first 71 laps, when Daly’s No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality Honda spun in Turn 4 and collected Newgarden’s No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet. The two cars slid into the SAFER Barrier on the outside wall before coming to rest along the frontstretch.

Newgarden was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, where he was diagnosed with a fractured right clavicle and small fracture in his right hand, according to Dr. Geoffrey Billows, INDYCAR medical director.

“Thank you to Dallara, INDYCAR, the Holmatro Safety Team and everyone we work with at Texas Motor Speedway,” Newgarden said. “The car held up great and the response from the safety team was amazing. I’m banged up a little bit, but I’m generally OK.

“That’s all thanks to INDYCAR and all the work everyone within the series does. I am feeling a little pain but I hope to be ready to rock and go again soon. We had a great car today, it just did not go how we had planned.”

Daly was uninjured in the incident.

“I didn’t expect that slide at all,” Daly said. “We were consistently running and, all of a sudden, the rear (tires) just totally lost grip. I felt like I floated all the way through the corner.

“I should have recognized it but it was definitely a rookie mistake. I was trying to stay a little bit lower because I knew Josef was coming. Maybe by pinching it a little bit, I just put too much load on the right rear.”

The schedule for Aug. 27 includes a practice and driver autograph prior to completion of the race. Broadcast information will be announced at a later date. Tickets for the original race date will be honored for the resumption. For more information, visit www.texasmotorspeedway.com.

The next Verizon IndyCar Series race is the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, from June 24-26. It will mark the return of Indy cars to the scenic 4-mile permanent road course for the first time since 2007. Race-day coverage begins June 26 at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

FIRESTONE 600 POSTPONEMENT QUOTES:

JAY FRYE (president, INDYCAR competition and operations): “We certainly want to come back and have a full race for the fans here in Texas, our fans. The people at TMS do a great job. So what we will do, per our rulebook, is start the race from where we stopped. So we will come back and start the race from that point. We’ll come in, have a practice, do an autograph session, run the race that night continuing from where we left off 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 Aug. 27.”

EDDIE GOSSAGE (president, Texas Motor Speedway): “After a lot of consultation this afternoon – and it was quite a meeting of people with everyone on their phones calling all the right folks, including a lot of teams for their input – what we are going to do is resume this race Saturday night, Aug. 27. Jay (Frye) will get into the particulars of how you resume a race, but I will tell you it will consist of one day only, there’s going to be a practice, an autograph session with all the drivers up on the concourse under the grandstands and then the race. We felt like that was the best way to best serve all the fans. The lightning is still going on out there. We maybe could have hung around and try to get it dry tonight and run enough to get halfway, but that’s not right. We want to give the fans a race. That’s the plan.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Hydroxycut – KVSH Racing Chevrolet): “It was obviously a tough day. The Hydroxycut machine had the least amount of downforce of anyone and, unfortunately, it showed. For 15 laps I was just barely hanging on and the car was way too fast on its own. I think we had the second- or third-quickest lap of the race. That is just the way it is, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that Josef (Newgarden) and Conor (Daly) aren’t seriously hurt. The magnitude of that crash, we just have to very happy and feel very lucky. Obviously, Josef is hurt, but when you see the crash, it’s a miracle. Also, I feel bad for the fans, but have a lot of respect for them. Two days of rain and they stayed with it. I’m just sorry we couldn’t get an official race in for them.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Mi-Jack/RLL Honda): “I had a really good start but I got held up a little bit, which is fine. I was just trying to be patient. At the end of the day, I think we had a pretty good baseline to get going from. I was having fun and just trying to work my way forward and be really patient. It’s frustrating to not get to finish the race. I feel bad for the fans. We’ll just have to try to regroup and come back and try this again another day. My thoughts are with Josef (Newgarden) and I hope that he is 100 percent again soon.”

CONOR DALY (No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality Honda): (On Lap 42 incident): “I was the rookie to make the mistake. The car was really consistent. It was fantastic and we were making great progress. I didn’t expect that slide at all. We were consistently running and, all of a sudden, the rear (tires) just totally lost grip. I felt like I floated all the way through the corner. It was all my mistake. I should have recognized it but it was definitely a rookie mistake. I was trying to stay a little bit lower because I knew Josef (Newgarden) was coming. Maybe by pinching it a little bit, I just put too much load on the right rear. While the car was quite good, I was on the edge in (Turns) 3 and 4 all the time. I apologized to him in there because that was my mistake, for sure.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “Thank you to Dallara, INDYCAR, the Holmatro Safety Team and everyone we work with at Texas Motor Speedway. The car held up great and the response from the safety team was amazing. I’m banged up a little bit, but I’m generally OK. That’s all thanks to INDYCAR and all the work everyone within the series does. I am feeling a little pain but I hope to be ready to rock and go again soon. We had a great car today, it just did not go how we had planned. I feel bad for both Conor and myself but I’m glad Conor is OK as well. I’ll be back out there fighting as soon as I can. Luckily I am all right, thank you again to everyone who helped me.”