More Thoughts & Photos From Barber

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Old age is a tough thing to admit. We rolled into Nashville very late on Sunday night. I managed to drag myself to work and survive the day on Monday. By the time I got home Monday night, I was almost in a coma. We started to watch Sunday’s race on the DVR, but I kept dozing off.

I knew the NCAA Championship game was coming on at 8:00, so at 7:00 I told Susan I was going to take a quick power-nap before the game started. I didn’t stir until she came to bed at 11:30. I missed the entire game! After ten full hours of hard sleep, I was back to almost one-hundred percent yesterday. Am I that out of shape? I used to be able to pull off a weekend like that with only minimal effect on a Monday. Not anymore. I guess I’ll have to pace myself better for Indianapolis qualifying weekend and race weekend next month, or I’m going to be in sad shape.

I did want to share some further thoughts on the weekend along with some of the photos that Susan and I both took throughout the weekend.

One thing that stood out was how so many of the drivers were conscious of being fan-friendly. While not every driver went the extra mile to engage the fans, there were many that did and they deserve mentioning and thanking – not for what they did for me, but for fans that had never been up close to a driver before. We witnessed random acts of treating fans well by many drivers. Those that stood out to us were Charlie Kimball, James Hinchcliffe, Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal. Surprisingly, I’ll include the three French drivers in this as well. Sébastien Bourdais, Tristan Vautier and Simon Pagenaud were all out and about. I would normally say that it was because no one but die-hards know who they are, but I saw Vautier chatting it up several times and Bourdais posing with fans. Go figure.

Bourdais Hinch Autograph Kimball

James Hinchcliffe deserves extra praise for making himself so available for fans after such a disappointing day (he finished last). This shot was made as the rest of the paddock was being torn down late in the day. While all the teams were packing up to head out after the long weekend, Hinch was still posing for pictures.

Kinch Post Race

Just because I didn’t post pictures of the others, doesn’t mean they weren’t schmoozing with fans as much. We got pictures, they just weren’t GOOD pictures.

Although the grass was not as green and the usually picture-perfect flower beds were a little sparse due to the late spring in the south, that doesn’t mean that the grounds were not as spectacular as usual. There were several new touches around the track. The trackside ant sculptures aren’t new, but this year one held a driver in their complete driver’s suit hanging out of their mouth. Another holds a motorcycle. Quite a nice touch.

Ants

The Fan Zone seemed bigger and busier than ever this year. I never heard this confirmed by a track official, but supposedly – the Ferris Wheel was the one previously owned by Michael Jackson at his Neverland Ranch. Insert your own punchline here.

Fan Zone Ferris Wheel FWheel

Before the race, I was a little concerned about attendance. When we got to the track, it was really way too easy driving in. Fortunately, they had a huge walk-up crowd and they had a very large crowd on Sunday. The following pictures capture some of the pre-race hubbub.

Cavin B. Rahal Dixon Simona Clive Grid OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Mears

After the race, we had an opportunity to get more than enough shots in Victory Lane. Here are a few…

Victory Ln 1 Product Placement Intv Podium Champagne No.1 Victory

One of the many good things about going to Barber is that it means the month of May is not that far off. It is a good way to kick off our two-race “racing season”. We did not leave Barber until after dark at 8:00 Sunday night. It was a fun-filled weekend at the gorgeous facility, and we were sorry to see it come to an end. Although we know the Indianapolis 500 is not far off, this was a sad sight to see through the pollen-covered windshield.

Pollen

Thanks to those who followed us through the weekend. There will be one final post here about the weekend at Barber Motorsports Park and the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Sunday morning before the race, I went to the Barber Museum on the grounds there. On Friday, I will have a post about the museum along with even more pictures.

George Phillips

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8 Responses to “More Thoughts & Photos From Barber”

  1. Good stuff. Appreciate the effort to post all this. Unfortunately I know what you mean about not being as young as I once was, race weekend-wise.

  2. billytheskink Says:

    I was also quite impressed with how many drivers I saw taking significant amounts of their time to sign things for fans and pose for photographs. While I’ve rarely found drivers to be unfriendly to fans in past trips through the paddock, I have never seen so many connecting with fans as I did at Barber this past weekend. It was great to see.
    Charlie Kimball even belted out a hearty and unsolicited “good morning” to my father and I as we walked through a just-stirring paddock on Sunday morning. Maybe that’s not suprising, he was having a good weekend.

    The driver I didn’t expect to be as personable as he was: EJ Viso, who I also didn’t realize could fit in my pocket…

  3. Well done George!! A great shot of Rick Mears.

  4. Thanks for the excellent pictures George. I like that most of your pictures featured people as opposed to simply pictures of cars on the track.

  5. Carburetor Says:

    Thank you George, for all of your posts on this race–it really helps give a sense of being there–much appreciated!

  6. Outstanding coverage, George. Many thanks to you and Susan for making all of us feel like we were there, even if we couldn’t be. On that note, I will be back at Barber next year with a vengance. Bank on it. I’ll see you at the top of the Alabama Roller Coaster.

  7. I’m surprised to read that you were at BMP until 8!
    Glad that you enjoyed the museum, the weather, and the races. See you again.

  8. Great shots. I really liked the endplate picture and the rick mears.
    I wonder if you could get Power to replicate his double bird salute for a picture? jk

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