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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 again brought my niece LIbby, who is now 19.  We drove down
in 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 Park.
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
I didn't use them.

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, I
discovered I 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 this Ferrari Enzo.
We caught a shuttle over to the paddock and made our way down to the pits.  
We walked around taking photos.  

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.  

Vulcan, the Roman god of Fire, is a
symbol of Birmingham.  Birmingham's
primary industry has been iron and
steel works.

This is the largest cast iron statue in the

It was created for the 1904 St. Louis
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
Reigning Indy 500 Winner
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 Sato
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 sculptures hidden around the
property - very cool!
Barber has added a new bridge that reaches out across the track from the motorcycle museum.
Hunter-Reay & I
Sage Karam' car
Tony Kanaan
Simon Pagenaud
Libby took all the photos today!
Vulcan, forging a spear tip
Ferrari Enzo
Charlie Kimball
Libby & I in pits, next to Juan Pablo Montoya's car