This week we prepare for what is arguably the most scenic venue on the IndyCar calendar at Barber Motorsports Park outside Birmingham (and Leeds). Every year I advise my friends they need to visit at least once. The way George Barber converted what was essentially a strip mine into a venue often referred to as the ‘Augusta of motor sports’ is remarkable. In addition to the circuit there are numerous great vantage points, all accessible by shuttle carts that run continuously. There are also unique works of art that dot the facility, often in unusual places.
No trip to Barber is complete without a trip to the museum. If you are into all things, racing and otherwise, on two or four (or more) wheels it is must see. But allow a lot of time. There is a lot to see, particularly if they let you behind the secret doors. The museum at IMS is still my favorite for variety of reasons, but if IMS ever brought it up to the quality of the facility at Barber jaws would drop.
Barber usually provides a quality of racing that is often not expected given the track was built for motorcycles. The people are friendly and fans who attend always have a good time.
Meantime back in Indy IMS and Kroger have a joint promotion in which two tickets to the big race are yours provided you spend $150 in groceries this week. Naturally the doomsayers latched onto this promotion as an example of the impending demise of the sport and the event that has always given it legitimacy. Also predictably the more brain challenged still stuck in a time warp two decades ago stupidly ‘blame’ Tony George. Still others ask why they spent money to buy tickets when they can get them ‘free.’
It is beyond my ability to grasp the abject stupidity that plagues many of these folks. First, this is nothing new. Tickets have been bought in blocks for decades and given away in one form or another every year. Second, the tickets people receive will be among the crappiest seats in the joint. Seats that are high value get renewed every year and have already been sold. I actually like the idea because it gives casual folks who may have chosen not to spend money in the past the opportunity to get rewarded for spending money on a necessity.
Here’s hoping May weather in Indy cooperates every day the track is open.