IndyCar Preview: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
Written by Danny Jones, Edited by Sasha Macmillen
It’s Sweet Home Alabama as IndyCar returns to the state where the skies are so blue for round 4 of the championship, and the first road course of the season at Barber Motorsports Park. The race that held the season opener last year, yielded an inaugural victory for Alex Palou, which kickstarted his 2021 title winning season.
The race is also going to kickstart the iconic month of May, which features the Indianapolis GP, the updated qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, and best of all, the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500, held on May 29th.
Josef Newgarden is the man on form, and the current championship leader, after taking home victory in Long Beach, as well as his thrilling last-gasp victory at Texas Motor Speedway, in what has been a fine month for the American, with his victories coming alongside the birth of his son.
Barber Motorsports Park is a track that Newgarden has traditionally been strong at, taking 3 victories, including his first in 2015, as well as 2017 and 2018, but did cause an opening lap crash in the last event at the circuit. But Penske are in fine form, winning all 3 races this year, whilst currently occupying 1st, 2nd and 4th in the standings
There will be many drivers with something to prove this weekend. Colton Herta dramatically threw away a podium by crashing on Long Beach, and is currently 11th in the standings, not ideal for a man considered to be the championship favorite. Another pre-season championship contender, Pato O’Ward did muster a 5th place finish in Long Beach, but will be hoping to improve recent performances, at a track he gained pole position at last year.
Will Power, Helio Castroneves, Takuma Sato and Simon Pagenaud are all winners at the circuit, and Power will be one of the favorites after his excellent form, finishing no lower than 4th in the three opening rounds
Barber Motorsports Park is one of the most challenging circuits for all drivers, with elevation change prominent throughout the circuit, creating blind apexes, all taken at high speed, and puts the very best apart, and Tatiana Calderon, Christian Lundgaard and Callum Ilott will be experiencing the track for the very first time.