Saturday, April 10, 2010

Storylines to watch at Barber Motorsports Park for the Alabama Grand Prix

The IZOD IndyCar Series returns to action tomorrow for its third race of the 2010 season. The last time we saw the IZOD IndyCar Series in action, Will Power took his second checkered flag of the young season. IndyCar Garage gives you five storylines to watch for tomorrow’s race.

1. Power is Powerful!

Will Power is on an early season role, he has won two races, has a 44 point advantage in the championship, and is driving for the powerful Team Penske. Power showed no effects from the week off by capturing his second pole of the 2010 season on Saturday morning. Power had the quickest time back in February when the series was at Barber for pre-season testing, and it showed today. Power will tough to beat come Sunday and look for him to add to his already commanding points lead.

2. Passing? There is no PASSING in IndyCar !

Even before the IZOD IndyCar Series announced they were going to have a race at Barber, drivers were already wondering where they were going to pass. Barber offers very few places on the track for drivers to overtake one another, mostly due to no long straightway. Brazil and St. Pete offered exciting races due to the nature of several passing zones, Barber might just be the opposite. The track is very challenging from an elevation stand point, but most of the position changes will be decided in the pits or through driver error.

3. Five teams in the Firestone Fast Six.

Team Penske, Dryer & Reinbold, KV , Andretti Autosport, and Ganassi all were represented in the last round of the knockout style qualifying on Saturday morning. The variety is good for fans , because it lets them believe that other drivers, outside of the big two teams, have a chance at being competitive. Marco Andretti, Mike Conway, and Takumo Sato all did a great job of representing their respected teams in qualifying. The bottom line throughout tomorrow’s race is that Will Power and Team Penske will be tough to beat.

4. The Inaugural Grand Prix of Alabama.

Birmingham, Alabama is traditionally known to be NASCAR country, as Talladega Superspeedway is 20 miles east of Barber Motorsports Park. The fans down at Birmingham showed up in waves at the first test, and tomorrow should be no different. The IZOD IndyCar Series could establish a new market of fans if it can put on a good show this weekend. Barber offers no permanent grandstands and was originally built for Motorcycle racing. Fans will lounge from hills that overlook the twisty permanent road course. It should be interesting to see the turn-out on Sunday and how this event shapes up.

5. Danica? Oh yeah……..

You didn’t forget did you? Oh wait, yes you did because ESPN isn’t shoving Danica Patrick down your throat for her DNF’s in the Nationwide Series. Danica Patrick has been a non-factor in the first two races of the year, and her Sunday doesn’t look promising. Danica tested at Barber back in February and was in the bottom six throughout the test. Saturdays qualifying results were very similar, she will start in the back half of the pack and with few passing zones, don’t expect her to charge through the field. Danica came through Atlantics, which was featured all road-racing, but she has had most of her success on the ovals in the Indy Racing League. Look for Danica to make her moves when the oval portion of the schedule kicks off at Kansas.

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