Birmingham, AL (SportsNetwork.com) – The IndyCar Series will run its fourth
race of the season this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park.
Last Sunday, Scott Dixon from Chip Ganassi Racing won on Grand Prix of Long
Beach on the streets of Long Beach, California for the first time. Dixon is
hoping to do the same this Sunday at Barber.
This will be the sixth time IndyCar competes at this 2.3-mile, 17-turn road
course. Dixon, a three-time champion in the series, finished second in each of
the first four races here from 2010-13. He placed third in last year’s event.
“We’ve had some great racing over the past few years at Barber and we’ve
finished on the podium every time but never won there,” Dixon said.
“Hopefully, I can try to move up and get to that top spot at Barber. I love
going there, and we’ve always qualified and raced well. Hopefully, this year
could be the year.”
In Long Beach, Dixon scored his 36th career Indy car victory, which moved him
ahead of Bobby Unser for fifth on the series’ all-time race winners list. He
is three wins away from tying Al Unser for fourth on the list.
Dixon also tied Bobby Unser, Emerson Fittipaldi and Helio Castroneves atop the
all-time list with an Indy car victory in 11 consecutive seasons, and he tied
Rick Mears and Gordon Johncock with at least one victory in 13 seasons.
“It feels amazing to even be on a list with a lot of those names. It’s a real
privilege,” Dixon said.
Ryan Hunter-Reay from Andretti Autosport has won the last two IndyCar races at
Barber. In 2013, Hunter-Reay started on the pole and led the most laps with 53
but had to hold off a hard-charging Dixon in the closing laps. He beat Dixon
to the finish line by just 0.6 seconds.
Last year’s race at Barber was delayed two and a half hours due to rain, and
it turned into a time event of one hour and 40 minutes. After starting third,
Hunter-Reay grabbed the lead on lap 16 when then leader Will Power spun off
the wet track. Hunter-Reay ran in front for a total of 40 laps en route to his
second straight victory here.
“As back-to-back winners of the event, we’re looking to return with a strong
result and continued progress on working with the new aero kit,” Hunter-Reay
said. “We’re dealing with a completely different car this year, so we’ll face
some new challenges in a relatively short race weekend.”
If Hunter-Reay wins Sunday’s 90-lap event here, he will become the fifth
different driver to win three races in a row at the same track within the past
10 years. Hunter-Reay would join Sebastien Bourdais (Long Beach, 2005-07), Dan
Wheldon (Homestead, 2005-07), Scott Dixon (Watkins Glen, 2005-07 and
Nashville, 2006-08) and Power (Sao Paulo, 2010-12).
Series: Verizon IndyCar. Date: Sunday, April 26. Race: HOnda Indy Grand Prix
of Alabama. Site: Barber Motorsports Park. Track: 2.3-mile, 17-turn road
course. Start Time: 3:37 p.m. ET (expected green flag). Laps: 90. Miles: 207.
2014 Winner: Ryan Hunter-Reay. Television: NBC Sports Network. Radio: IMS
Radio Network/SIRIUS XM Satellite.