Random Thoughts On Barber
My disclaimer here is that I have not yet watched the broadcast of yesterday’s race. I am actually typing this as Susan drives on the way back to Nashville on Sunday night – much to her chagrin. But I do have some more thoughts on this year’s edition of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
First of all, this is my fourth year to go to Barber Motorsports Park. I’ve been to the past three IZOD IndyCar Series events there, plus the test they had there in 2009. Despite what everyone says and jokes about – this is in fact, a very beautiful facility. Some say that is code speak for bad racing, but that was somewhat proven wrong last year and even more so yesterday. There was plenty of action and passing. I know, because I saw it with my own eyes.
This event is also growing in popularity. The locals have really gotten behind it. We rode back to the car with one of the many volunteers that said the Barber officials were ecstatic with the attendance this weekend. That’s good news considering the Friday crowd was held down due to the thunderstorms that moved through just after lunch.
As far as the actual race goes, I can’t really speak about that – not yet, anyway. If you’ve been to an oval and left there feeling like you’re not quite sure what all went on – well, triple that at a road course. Thank God for DVR’s
I couldn’t help but notice that Will Power was the only one really smiling in Victory Lane. Scott Dixon looked miffed that he didn’t get the win and Helio Castroneves looked downright distraught. I also noticed a little grimace when he was standing on the podium as Will Power was giving his interview. Power mentioned how great it was to have Tim Cindric calling his race. If you’ll recall, Cindric was calling Helio’s races for twelve years before being moved to Power’s pit box late last season. Something tells me Helio would like to have him back.
TV Coverage: Although I haven’t seen the race telecast, I did see the qualifying show on Saturday along with a lot of tweets. The qualifying show was an excellent debut for NBC Sports Network and Townsend Bell as a pit reporter. Based on the tweets I saw, they did a good job with the race telecast also. Bob Jenkins did have a slight flub on Saturday when he said that Rubens Barrichello had been in Formula One for twenty decades. He eventually corrected himself to say it was twenty years.
Foyt pit woes continue: For the second week in a row, Mike Conway saw a strong performance on the track be undone by shoddy work on pit road. Conway’s second stop was noticeably slow as the track TV feed was following the stop. Even Mike King of IMS Radio took note of how slow the pit work was. Conway finished seventh, but you have to wonder where he would have finished had his pit work been up to speed.
Strong Start for Penske: Team Penske is now two for two race wins and two poles in the early going. I get the sense that The Captain has grown tired of watching Chip Ganassi accept championship hardware at the end of each season beginning in 2008. This is the eleventh season since Team Penske came over from CART, and they only have one championship to show for it (2006). I think Roger Penske is determined to win it this year.
More pictures: I actually took a ton of photos this weekend – so many, in fact, that my camera died while we were in Victory Lane. Fortunately, Susan scrambled through her purse and found more. I will be posting these up sometime this week.
All in all: This race was a blast to attend in person. From the conversations I’ve had with people who watched it on television – it was a fun race to watch, as well. Supposedly Randy Bernard has entered discussions to extend the current contract for Barber beyond the 2013 race. I, for one, hope that he does it.