Storms force INDYCAR qualifying schedule to be reshuffled at St. Louis
World Wide Technology Raceway, Illinois August 26, 2023
Juncos Hollinger Racing drivers Callum Ilott and Agustín Canapino will have to wait until tomorrow to get their Bommarito Automotive Group 500 qualifying challenge underway after persistent thunderstorms in the skies above World Wide Technology Raceway forced Saturday’s schedule to be reshuffled.
With inclement weather putting the brakes on any on-track action this afternoon, qualifying for the 15th round of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will now take place at 11.00 ET tomorrow. The final oval race of the season will then go green at 15.30 ET tomorrow as originally scheduled.
Saturday’s Practice schedule was reduced to a single 60-minute session for the INDYCAR teams at 19.45, while a 10-minute ‘high-line practice was held at 21.00 local time.
Matthew Brabham completed the INDY NXT by Firestone Outfront Showdown race in P7 on Saturday night, while team-mate Rasmus Lindh brought his #76 car home in P14.
With earlier stormy weather delaying the on-track action at World Wide Technology Raceway, the start of the 75-lap race was delayed by six hours. And with no opportunity to hold a qualifying session, grid places for the floodlit race were determined on entrant points.
That meant Matthew started from P11 as the green flag flew, while Rasmus was seated a couple of places further ahead as the drivers soon discovered how the earlier rain had reduced grip levels on the 1.25-mile superspeedway.
Matthew, the winner of last year’s corresponding NXT race, made a fast start in his #75 machine and leapfrogged several rivals to take P5 on the opening laps. However, the Australian-American couldn’t hold on and dropped a couple of places as the race reached one-third distance.
Rasmus meanwhile, was unable to show the same speed that had earned him P7 in the earlier NXT practice and he dropped to P14 at the half way point.
A caution period with 12 laps remaining closed the field back up, but neither Matthew or Rasmus were unable to make any further progress and completed the final oval race of the season in P7 and P14 respectively.
“It was an exciting race in the beginning as I came through a bunch of cars and then held on for a top-ten finish which is a nice way to end my latest outing as a Juncos Hollinger driver”
“It was an exciting race in the beginning as I came through a bunch of cars and then held on for a top-ten finish which is a nice way to end my latest outing as a Juncos Hollinger driver.
“Big thanks to Jennil Salazar who is the proud sponsor of this #75 JHR race car and without her unwavering support and enthusiasm we wouldn’t be getting closer to wins like we have done today. Big thanks to her and I’m so glad to be part of the team.”
“I was a passenger throughout the race and there wasn’t much we could do to get a better result unfortunately”
“That wasn’t how we wanted the weekend to end here in St. Louis. We started well in practice and I was running P5 with the new tyre so I was very happy with the car.
“But then something happened – we don’t know what yet – when we went to the other set of tyres and I lost all confidence in the car. I was a passenger throughout the race and there wasn’t much we could do to get a better result unfortunately.”
“It was very hard for both drivers to jump in the car and go green with such little track time”
“We had a short practice and then it was straight to the race. It was very hard for both drivers to jump in the car and go green with such little track time.
“I think Matthew did a fantastic job to start from P11 and move up to P5, but then the track was very dirty on the high line after the INDYCAR practice and he went up there and lost a couple of positions. But I think he still closed a really good job.
“Unfortunately for Rasmus, the car was super loose and we need to check what happened there. He had a spin during practice and although he didn’t hit anything, we need to see if that had any influence on the race handling.”