IndyCar, Barber Motorsports Park

Birmingham funding for IndyCar race at Barber not approved

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Financial support from the city of Birmingham, Alabama for this weekend’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park was not approved this afternoon by city officials.

Instead of a proposed plan from Birmingham mayor William Bell that called for a four-year, $1.2 million contract for the annual IZOD IndyCar Series event, the city will make a contribution on “in-kind” services. According to Joseph D. Bryant of AL.com, Bell has withdrawn his original proposal and will return with a plan that provides funding for this year’s Barber race only, which will go on as scheduled.

City funding, which would go toward the race’s sanctioning fees, has been a prickly issue recently, with Bell and Birmingham City Council president Roderick Royal dueling last week over details and the length of Bell’s now-failed contract despite both of them supporting the race itself.

Now Bell plans to request a one-year funding contract of $300,000 later this month. According to his chief of staff, Chuck Faush, the Mayor must wait for at least two weeks to make any funding requests for the race since those had not met required advertised requirements.

“It’s evident that there is support and the council president indicates that he’s supportive of the event,” Faush told AL.com. “We will advertise it and wait two weeks.”

The IZOD IndyCar Series has raced at Barber since the 2010 campaign.

Hat tip goes to Matt Archuleta (@indy44) for the heads-up.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)