Wrapping Up A Fun Day At Barber

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I’m not sure if I mentioned it earlier, but it’s very hot here. Considering that just three weeks ago, we were dealing with snow in Nashville – it’s hard to get used to brilliant sunshine and 84-degrees, which is exactly what we have here today at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham.

We went to the stands on the backstretch to watch qualifying. Like last year, after the first half of Round One was over – many in the stands thought qualifying was over. Susan and I both tried to tell people there was more to come, but they just looked at us as they headed for the exits. One one hand, it suited me fine because it meant fewer people to jump up and block our camera angles. On the other hand, I hated for people to think that qualifying for tomorrow’s race lasted for just a few minutes. Like most tracks, they simply pipe in the IMS Radio Network broadcast over the PA. There was nothing telling them that there was more to come. This happened here last year, as well. Somehow, the Verizon IndyCar Series needs to come up with a better way to convey the qualifying format to casual fans that come to the track.

The biggest non-surprise of the day was Will Power winning the pole. He has won here twice and has a habit of winning the pole, so I doubt that anyone was surprised. The driver that has come in second at every race here – Scott Dixon – will start fifth. James Hicnchiffe will start on the front row alongside Power. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Josef Newgarden will fill out Row Two. Helio Castroneves rounded out the Fast Six. One driver of note – Tony Kanaan – will start dead-last (ouch!).

Although he didn’t win the pole, I continue to be impressed with Nashville native Josef Newgarden. He has been consistently fast all weekend. He may not win tomorrow, but his time is coming – soon. Once he finally gets that first win, look out! I think win No.2 will come soon afterward.

For those that have not seen enough of the “gorgeous facility” or may not have ever gotten a glimpse of it; I did make a point to go and make some photos after qualifying. I’ll put those at the end of this post. We are going out to dinner tonight with some of our racing friends, but there are no more bakeries to go to – so I’ll promise we will be here early tomorrow. I’ll also share some of our interesting hotel adventures at some point.

Check back early tomorrow.

George Phillips

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7 Responses to “Wrapping Up A Fun Day At Barber”

  1. Ron Ford Says:

    Thanks for the updates and photos Twisty and Quirky. It does indeed appear to be a beautiful facility. Reminds me of Road America, but more manicured. What’s going on with that 10 car?!

  2. Love this track and been to 2 of the races there. The 13 hour drive from our house in Michigan make this a difficult race for us to make. If we were closer we would be there every year. Setup a chair in the wooded hill on the back stretch and you can see so much of the track and so much good racing going on there.

  3. George, we were sitting about 100 yards to your left, on the hillside just below the AAA tent. I hate to disagree, but we clearly heard the announcers explain the qualifying procedures. Maybe there was a malfunction in the speaker system where you were sitting.

    At any rate, there was a large crowd near us, and I don’t think anyone left. As you said, it appeared to be a very knowledgeable crowd.

    This is a gorgeous facility! I’m looking forward to a Penske sweep tomorrow.

  4. Why couldn’t they make a diagram or chart or something and print it on a pamphlet or paper cup or ticket folder or something so folks will have an idea of how this qualifying works?

    will be supporting two Americans tomorrow–Newgarten and Hinch. (hey, he’s North American.)

  5. Paul and Pippa explain qualifying format at every race so it is difficult to understand why anyone would leave for lack of info… But folks generally do not tend to listen to anything over a public address system these days anyway, whether it is on a train, a plane in the airport or the track.. Then when they miss their stop, their plane etc. they wonder why… We live in the age of an attention deficit disordered population… If it isn’t exploding and flying apart right in front of them, it is difficult to get any other sensory stimuli through the sheeple firewall…

  6. I have been to Barber twice since IndyCar’s debut there. Drove down twice from Louisville and stayed with friends in Leeds. I immediately noticed there are many casual fans at Barber. No offense but most I have noticed are clueless about motorsports. Many who are out just enjoying the scene which is great but the fact that IndyCar does not have the capability to communicate with people who are sitting there live at the track just sucks. I’m sorry but that is a gaping hole that one would think someone would take notice and correct. Its stuff like this that makes me question the intelligence of those running the show in IndyCar. It’s not like this has been a one time thing. This has been going on for years. I wonder if the higher ups at Verizon are taking notice and and second guessing their commitment. Sorry but this kind if stuff fires me up. IndyCar struggles with ratings and wonders why and here is a wonderful example of one huge error in a presentation that is supposed to grab and hold peoples attention by communicating to fans that they actually have their crap together, and it is an embarrassing failure. Hey IndyCar- the point of coming back to Barber every year is to GROW the fanbase!!!! Comeon!!!!!

  7. Ill add one more thing. When I was there it was also evident how long the down time is on the PA when there is noting going on on the track. The series really needs to do something about holding people’s attention while the 2 seater is needlessly driving around lap after lap. If you go to any IndyCar event especially if you are there for a 2 day period you can’t help but notice the extensive amount of down time that occurs and the PA system is completely silent.

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