Grand Prix of Alabama
The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is an Indy Racing League IndyCar Series open-wheel race held at the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham. Officially announced on July 27, 2009, the inaugural event took place over the weekend of April 9-11, 2010. Organizers moved the Porsche 250 from July to the same weekend to coincide with the IndyCar race. The event is under contract through the 2013 season and under the management of the local group Zoom Motorsports and will be televised nationally on either ABC or Versus. The venue is designed to allow for nearly 100,000 spectators and will have an estimated economic impact on Greater Birmingham of $30 million.
The opportunity to pursue the event came after the Detroit Indy Grand Prix was discontinued. With an open date available, Birmingham made its pitch to IRL officials and was selected to hold the event over Cleveland, Houston, Baltimore, Nashville, Charlotte and Portland, Oregon. IRL cited both strong support from both local and state government in addition to the large crowd the attended an IRL training session in March 2009 as factors in Birmingham being selected for the race.
In September 2010, American Honda signed on as title sponsor for the 2011–13 Grand Prix of Alabama races. In 2013 Indycar CEO Jeff Belskus announced that the event would continue at least through 2016.
Honda's robotic mascot ASIMO served as grand marshal for the April 23 race.
Pole winner Simon Pagenaud of France won the April 24 race for Team Penske with a record-breaking average speed of 114.254 miles per hour. Ed Jones and Santiago Urrutia split the Indy Lights races. Ideal weather brought 83,765 fans to the event. Grand marshal Sara Evans sang the national anthem.
Josef Newgarden completed 90 laps with a time of 1:55:53, giving him the victory on April 26, 2015. Spencer Pigot swept the two Indy Lights races. WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder served as grand marshal. Approximately 75,000 attended the event.
Australian Will Power started from the pole from the second straight year and never trailed, finishing 3.38 seconds ahead of Scott Dixon. Dario Franchitti was third.
2010 inaugural race
Will Power took the pole during qualifying.
Helio Castraneves held off Scott Dixon after a caution caused the race to resume with two laps to go. Marco Andretti led the most laps with 58, but had to pit late in the race, leaving Castroneves in the lead.
- Tomberlin, Michael (July 26, 2009) "Indy Car race coming to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama." The Birmingham News
- MacDonald, John A. (July 28, 2009) "IRL helps land Barber on the map." The Birmingham News
- Tomberlin, Michael (January 28, 2010) "With Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the Barber Motorsports Park, comes opportunity." The Birmingham News
- Piper, Ben (September 9, 2010) "American Honda signs on as Grand Prix of Alabama sponsor." Birmingham Business Journal
- "Power leads IndyCar race wire-to-wire at Alabama" (April 10, 2011) Associated Press
- McCarter, Mark (April 7, 2013) "IndyCar race at Barber again a big hit, especially for Ryan Hunter-Reay." The Birmingham News