Weather played a major factor in Saturday’s on-track sessions at the ABC Supply Co. 500 at Pocono Raceway. With rain nearing the track at the start time of the first practice session, the 2.5-mile track was under delay for over 45 minutes before the teams and drivers were instructed to make their way back to the garage.
After a quick downpour, track drying efforts began and the schedule was revised, cancelling qualifying and modifying practice to one two-hour session. With qualifying called off, the field of 22 lined up in order of entrant points for the double-file start, placing Andretti in an 17th starting position.
CHASING THE CHECKERS.
When the green flag waved at Pocono Raceway, there was no shortage of immediate action and drama. Before the first lap was complete, the first caution period of the ABC Supply 500 was brought out and eventually led to the first of two red-flag periods.
In Turn 2, the No. 30 machine of Takuma Sato came down into the racing machine of Alexander Rossi who was in the middle of a three-wide run with Sato and Ryan Hunter-Reay. The contact forced Rossi into the No. 28 machine and collected the race cars of James Hinchcliffe and Felix Rosenqvist.
Hometown favorite, Marco Andretti struggled to find grip and made wing adjustments as he came in for fuel and tires. Once the balance was back in the car, the 98 machine was a lap down and unable to advance on the circuit that favors track-position over passing.
After 128 laps, inclement weather neared the track, forcing a red flag as lightening entered in the area. Once the rain came, so did the checkered flag. With the rule book requirement of halfway +1 lap having been satisfied, Round 14 of competition was in the books.
In just three short days, the team heads to Madison, Illinois, just outside of St. Louis for the final oval race of the season at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. The 248-lap event will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network at 8 p.m. ET
IN HIS WORDS
“Firstly, I’m glad everyone walked out okay after the wreck on the start. I had an issue with one of my head pads coming out, and we lost some time in fixing that. Beyond that the car had a big imbalance and by the time we got that fixed, we were a lap down. There wasn’t much we could do, and it made for a long day. Looking ahead to Gateway and working to finish the season strong.”