Columnist nails it: How IndyCar became a big hit in ‘Bama

3 Comments

There are sports columns that are so bad that readers stop reading after the first paragraph or two – sometimes even after the first sentence.

Then there are sports columns that absolutely hit the target dead-on.

Huntsville (Ala.) Times columnist Mark McCarter falls into the latter category. His column on Barber Motorsports Park and this past weekend’s IndyCar race there absolutely, positively nailed it – with some good-natured humor thrown in.

From the headline, a reader is immediately drawn in: The preposterous notion of an IndyCar race in Alabama turns out to be a rousing success”

You can click on the headline to read the whole column, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t repeat the best part of McCarter’s outstanding piece of prose:

Just as (track founder/builder George) Barber envisioned, (Barber Motorsports Park) also was a magnificent racing venue for the daredevils on two wheels and those expensive, sleek sports cars that make so many cameo appearances in mid-life crisis dreams.

But IndyCars?

C’mon.

Too tight. Can’t pass. Too many elevation changes.

And, besides, didn’t anybody look at a map?

It’s Alabama, for cryin’ out loud.

It’s Talladega territory, the sole – and soul – of NASCAR’s Southern footprint. This is where kids are taught to count, “One … two … Earnhardt … four…”

But, look here. The Honda IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama is in its fifth season. It’s still a hit.

Indeed, IndyCar racing continues to be a big hit and success deep in the heart of Dixie, and will likely keep doing so for many more years to come. Who knew?

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”