Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy

Large crowds turning out for Indy car racing in Alabama, home of the NCAA football National Champions three years running, home to Talladega International Speedway fastest track in NASCAR. Well that’s exactly what you had for this years Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy at the infamous Barber Motorsports Park.  Officials estimate a three-day crowd of over eighty-one thousand fans in attendance with over fifty-two thousand of those on Sunday alone. Where did they all come from? Well, according to the folks at Zoom Motorsports, fans from 43 different states purchased tickets and descended upon Birmingham Alabama bringing with them, according to the Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau, an economic impact that will exceed $30 million dollars.

What did all those fans get for their money? They witnessed three days of high-speed wheel-to-wheel practice and qualifying sessions and hard fought racing on a challenging 2.38 mile 17 turn road course in the Barber Motorsports Park. Toss in a ride on the Neverland Ferris Wheel, a flight on the National Guard zip line and a walk through the Indy Car Fan Village and Grand-Am Fan Zone and you have a fun filled weekend for the entire family. Spectators came with chairs, blankets and push up tents in hand, finding excellent hill side vantage points all around the track while others simply took up seats in the bleachers high above turn eleven along the back stretch.
And when the action wasn’t right in front of them, fans could find it on one of the many jumbo-trons, strategically placed around the track.

Patrick Dempsey
As if all that on track action weren’t enough, the paddock (garage area) was open throughout the weekend and there you could stroll through and see first hand what the pit crews do to get their cars ready for the next run. If you were lucky, you might snap a photo with a driver as they relax between events or get an autograph during the IZOD Indy car autograph session or the Continental Tire Fan Walk Pre-Race along pit road. Getting back to your trackside seat for the main event, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, was easy when you caught a ride on one of the many trams constantly circling the track.

Will Power
Back at your seat, as the green flag drops on a field of 26 cars, you settle in for 90 intense laps of high speed close quarters racing that included nine lead changes with only two caution flags for ten laps. Will Power #12, driver of the Verizon - Team Penske - Chevrolet, pulled the fastest lap, 114.379mph through lap 79 and he ultimately went on to win by a victory margin of 3.3709 seconds over Scott Dixon #9, driver of the Target - Chip Ganassi Racing - Honda. Power was quoted in an interview released by Zoom Motorsports as saying, “When I come to Barber Motorsports Park, it feels like home,” “I really enjoy this place. It's probably the best facility we go to as far as road courses.” Power backed that statement up with his second straight victory of this event in as many years as well as a fourth place here in 2010.

In conclusion, the 2012 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy was a huge success and that success was born out of the efforts of Barber Motorsports Park to host this great event, the hard work by the folks of ZOOM Motorsports and their hundreds of volunteers and most importantly, you the fans. If you missed this year, make plans now to be there in 2013.

You won’t regret it!

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