You know it’s going to be a great day when your morning coffee is taken with Indy cars firing up for a practice session before next month’s event. Barber Motorsports Park is open today for IndyCar testing and practice sessions and this gives the teams a chance to do some preliminary set-ups for the cars. The weather is beautiful, but I am hoping next month’s race morning will be warmer. Cold weather may be good for horsepower, but it takes longer to get heat into the tire rubber and if you can’t get the ponies to the track without breaking traction, the extra horsepower serves no purpose. So the tire warmers are needed today as the temperature hovered around freezing but is expected to warm up into the 60s by lunch time.
Gearhead DIYers like myself get a chance to get up close and personal with the drivers on these practice days and if you ever get the chance to attend, by all means do so. It was just a few years back at a test day, I was sitting on a tool box in the garage area when a driver sat down next to me and we started chatting. The driver was Dan Welden and he came across as sincere and humble. In my racing experience, those qualities are rare, and I am not referring to just he successful ones. If you pull for the nice guys like I do, if you get the opportunity strike up a conversation with some of the current drivers on the American race scene like Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne or even Jimmie Johnson. I hear good things about John Force, but I have never spoken with him. On test days the drivers and team members are more accessible, but that being said, racing is a multi-billion dollar business and this is a work day for them.
For those of you who are NASCAR fans, this past weekend marked the beginning of Daytona Week. Even the most persnickety critics of NASCAR regulations should be happy with the changes that brought about an end to the two car runs that plagued Daytona and Talladega. And if I could give a shout out that could be heard by one driver, it would be to Kyle Busch. That was an awesome display of talent Saturday night and God knows you have incredible driving talent, don’t muck it up by being a jerk off the track. I really do want to like you, as your talent is obvious and I think you give 100% effort on the track. Compromise and give me 60% effort off the track and your popularity has no limit. Then again, one of the things I like about you is your indifference to other people’s opinions. But some of those opinions pay the bills and I want to see you on the track and not serving out penalties handed out by NASCAR or team owners.
To our buddies at Hendrick Motorsports body shop, job security looks good for the immediate future if the Bud Shootout is indicative of races to come. Blocking is racing and spinning blockers in the final laps is also racing, I don’t think Kyle or Jeff would argue that point. Had Jimmie J. avoided that incident, I think he would have taken Edwards to the wire.
So now is the time to get your tickets whether you follow NASCAR, Indy or whatever flavor of motor-sports you follow. The next few months I will follow Indy to find a driver to pull for in that series. Living in Birmingham we are lucky to have one of the finest motor-sports facilities in the World in Barber Motorsports Park. Tickets to next month’s events are on sale now and I expect there will be a capacity crowd again this year. To the naysayers who preached that Alabama would never support any racing other than NASCAR, go back to your trailers and watch the next few NASCAR races and get back with me on why those seats are empty. The facilities at Barber are first class and watching a race there live is an experience that television cannot capture. Check it out, take your family including your kids, it’s that kind of atmosphere.
Tickets to the Honda Indy Grand Prix are available today at http://www.barbermotorsports.com/general/index.php. Tickets are limited in number so get yours today. firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.877.332.7804.