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.
Archive for April, 2014
Better late than never – we are finally here, after visiting a local bakery that Susan insists on going to every year. Savages Bakery does have the best cinnamon rolls ever, so i guess it’s worth it. We’ve actually been on the grounds for over an hour, but as soon as we parked the car – we stopped off at Turn Three to watch the IndyCar practice. James Hinchcliffe topped the charts after Sébastien Bourdais led for most of the session. Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves and Will Power rounded out the top-five. It was an interesting session as several drivers seemed to have trouble staying on-track. As we were about to take our place over Turn Three, we heard tires screeching. We looked up just in time to see Helio Castroneves spin into the gravel trap right in front of us.
Except for the fact that we’re not sitting at the intersection of 16th and Georgetown, I’m not sure there could be a better way to spend an afternoon than what we just did. After lunch, we went and met up with some old friends we haven’t seen since we were out at Fontana in October. Then we went to the far side of the track for the second IndyCar practice of the day. While over there, we visited the Fan Village.
Well, we weren’t too far off schedule. After a “requested” stop for Starbucks just before Birmingham, an stopping at the Hampton Inn outside the grounds to pick up credentials – we finally made it. Last year, we had a very late spring in the south and the entire course was still dead and brown. This year, we have had another late spring, but the race is three weeks later than last. The result? Lush green hills dotted with blooming dogwoods and azaleas. I’m thinking the “gorgeous Facility” may look better than it has ever looked.
And so it begins…This morning begins a 2,260 mile odyssey over four of the next five weekends in which Susan and I will attend three races and one weekend of qualifying. It all starts this weekend with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Two weeks from now it will be the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis, followed by a revamped qualifying format weekend and then the main attraction – the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500.
This is as good a time as any to insert a shameless plug. For the past several years, I have done periodic podcasts for CrimsonCast; a website devoted mostly to Indiana Hoosier basketball, but focuses on IndyCar during the spring and summer months. Why they choose me as a guest is beyond me, but I’ve enjoyed doing them nonetheless. They are now branching out with a site called IndyCar Stats. Their focus is breaking down each race and driver and analyzing some of the more obscure stats that many overlook. Other than the fact that I will continue to do podcasts for them on a more regular basis, I have no affiliation with them and my pay grade stays the same – nothing.
So far, the best move of the young 2014 Verizon IndyCar Season was made off the track, when Ed Carpenter tabbed Mike Conway as his road course specialist for Ed Carpenter Racing. Two races into the season, and it has already paid off in a win at Long Beach and what might have been a very good finish at St. Petersburg, if not for a miscommunication on when to pit.