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Grand Prix of Alabama
April 26, 2015
I enjoyed Birmingham so much last year, that I returned
again this year.

I brought my 19 y/o niece.  We took the Vette.  

The weather reports had been saying we would endure
severe thunderstorms everyday until race day.  However,
we had beautiful weather almost the entire trip.  We did
have a half-hour thunderstorm Saturday afternoon.  It
also rained early Sunday morning before I woke up.

Even though we got to Birmingham Thursday evening,
we did not go to the track until Sunday.  We shopped
and ate, visited the botanical gardens, zoo and Vulcan
By the time we headed to the track Sunday,
we realized we missed all the early races and
would only see the IndyCar race.

I had purchased a general admission and a
parking pass in advance, but it ended up
being a waste of money.

I have a friend who set Libby and I up with pit
passes that included admission.  We had to
go to the IndyCar credential office which was
located at a hotel across the street from
Barber Motorsports Park.

As we were entering the track, we
discovered we left our parking pass back at
the hotel.  We drove back to the credential
office and I bought sportscar parking for $35.  
Like last year, we got lucky and I was able to
park my car up close to the entrance
alongside a bunch of other Vettes.  There
were other marks, German and Italian.  The
highlight for me was a Ferrari Enzo.
We caught a shuttle over to the paddock and made
our way down to the pits.  We walked around taking

I wished Scott Dixon good luck and had a photo-op
with 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay.  

We also ran into my friend Michie in the pits.
Japanese garden at
the Birmingham
Botanical Gardens.
Here I am ringing the Japanese Bronze Temple Gong
This statue looks out over the city from Red Mountain.  He is Vulcan, the Roman
god of Fire and he's forging a spear tip.  He is the largest cast iron statue in the
world.  He was created for the 1904 St. Louis Expo.  Birmingham's primary
industry has been iron and steel works.
Next we moved to turns 14 & 15.  Most people brought
folding chairs.  We did not and had to sit in the grass.

After a while, we grabbed the shuttle again and this time
we went to turn 2.  This was a great place to watch the
race.  Also it was not crowded like all the other spots.
Ed Carpenter
Ryan Hunter-Reay
Keli Stavast -
In addition to serving as a pit reporter for
IndyCars, she is a reporter for NASCAR
The area is really hilly.  We walked up some hills and caught the shuttle again.  
I had it drop us off where we began.  I had planned to sit where I had last
year, between turns 11 and 12.  The place had a much bigger crowd this
year and the prime viewing I had last year was no longer available.

Due to the rain late last night, there was some mud and we got our best
tennis shoes muddy.

I watched the race from there for a while, then we left.  I bought a couple of
Bud Lights for $12.  
We walked over to the woods by Turn 13 and
watched from there for a while before boarding
the shuttle again.  Lots of people were there
getting out of the hot sun.
Helio Castroneves
Takuma Saku
James Jakes
Scott Dixon
James Jakes spins
Next time I think I'll buy a seat and bring a cooler
of food and drink.  

I didn't have anything to eat there and the only
alcohol was Bud Light ($6) and Stella Artois ($7)  

Barber is a very nice facility nestled in the
beautiful countryside.  Also, there are large and
strange sculputres hidden around the property -
very cool!
Barber has added a new bridge that reaches out across the track from the motorcycle museum.