Rain delays force IndyCar to set Texas grid by points

IndyCar’s efforts to squeeze the first race of the Texas Motor Speedway double-header between showers will see the grid set by entrant points, and the race start brought forward.

Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Practice for this evening’s first race on the 1.5-mile oval was delayed by two hours due to the dampness of the track, and the 90-minute session – which includes 10 minutes of two-stage pit speed limiter practice at the start and ‘hot’ pitstops in the final 30 minutes – will be the only time the 24-car field will be on track prior to the race.

Qualifying was to consist of two-lap runs for each car with the first to decide the grid for tonight’s 212-lap race, and the second to set the grid for tomorrow’s 248-lap race.

However, with qualifying now cancelled, tonight will see the grid set by car entrant points, with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou leading Will Power (Team Penske), Scott Dixon (Ganassi) and Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport), Simon Pagenaud (Penske) and Jack Harvey (Meyer Shank Racing) at the start.

The race has also been brought forward by 35 minutes due to weather forecasts showing more inclement weather heading the way of Fort Worth circuit so the race will get the green flag at 6.10pm local time.

Setting the grid by car entrant points means Pietro Fittipaldi benefits from Romain Grosjean’s efforts in the opening two rounds of the year in the #51 Dale Coyne Racing car, and so he’ll start his first IndyCar race in two-and-a-half years from 14th on the grid.

Pietro Fittipaldi, Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing Honda

Pietro Fittipaldi, Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing Honda

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Less fortunate will be Conor Daly – about to make his first start of the year with Carlin, as opposed to his usual Ed Carpenter Racing drive – who will slide from 17th back to 24th, while Tony Kanaan’s first IndyCar race of the season will see him start 23rd as he takes over the #48 Ganassi entry from Jimmie Johnson.

IndyCar has not yet determined how to set the grid for tomorrow’s race, but if there is insufficient time available, it is likely to be based upon car entrant points again.

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