Long Beach, CA – What was shaping up to be a banner day for Jack Hawksworth and his Bryan Herta Autosport team on the streets of Long Beach ended three laps down due to contact on Sunday afternoon.
The Verizon IndyCar Series rookie started the weekend with three solid practices, finishing all three sessions in the top ten. Hawksworth really started turning heads when he earned a P3 in the second practice session.
On Saturday afternoon, the 23-year-old British driver advanced all the way to the Firestone Fast Six, where he ran just 0.2306 seconds off the leader’s pace, and qualified fifth, on the starting grid for Sunday’s race.
The 40th running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach wowed fans with an impressive standing start. Despite falling back a couple spots in the first few laps of the race, Hawksworth quickly gained one back and ran in sixth for the first 25 laps.
The tires appeared to fall off a bit around lap 25 and the No. 98 BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian crew made the first pit stop at lap 26. Hawksworth came out in P10 but was back up to P6 by lap 42.
Just after the team’s second pit stop, the 23-year-old British driver got caught up in a multi-car crash involving five of the six race leaders. In what appeared to be a delayed caution communication, Hawksworth drove into a blind corner in turn four and couldn’t stop in time to avoid the incident.
Fortunately, Hawksworth was able to get back out on track, going only three laps down and finishing the day in 15th place.
“It was a disappointing end to the day, getting taken out by the accident,” said Hawksworth. “It’s a shame. We struggled a little bit for speed in the race but we were hanging up front. Thanks to the team for all the hard work. They put in a big effort and it’s a shame we didn’t get the result.”
Team owner Bryan Herta added, “It’s hard knocks getting caught up in a mess for the second race in a row, but Jack was doing a great job. The Charter Networks/Castrol Edge car was poised for a great finish again, so I think we have to take the positive out of this. We ran well and had a great weekend, despite the result, and now we head to Barber.”
In two weeks, the Verizon IndyCar Series heads to the west coast for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. The green flag will drop for the 90-lap competition on Barber Motorsports Park road course on Sunday, April 27 at 2:12 p.m. ET. Fans can catch all the action live on NBC Sports Network and Sirius/XM Channel 211.