Situated in Alabama, Barber Motorsports Park has the ability to use the state’s rich sports history in order to help promote its various races.
The road course outside Birmingham has brought in Alabama sports luminaries such as Charles Barkley, Bart Starr, and Bo Jackson to be Grand Marshal for its Verizon IndyCar Series races in the past.
And for this year’s running, the honor has gone to Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback “Broadway Joe” Namath, who led the Alabama Crimson Tide to the 1964 National Championship – five years before he followed through on his guarantee of victory at Super Bowl III with the New York Jets.
As part of his pre-race rounds, Namath met up with another legend in four-time Indianapolis 500 champion and current Verizon IndyCar Series team owner A.J. Foyt.
The two swapped helmets, with Foyt receiving an autographed ‘Bama football helmet with Namath’s famous No. 12…
…and Namath receiving an autographed 1960s racing helmet trimmed in Coyote Orange and bearing the message “It’s hell getting old!”
Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing driver Josef Newgarden also showed Namath the technology behind the steering wheel on his No. 67 Honda…
…and then, the two joined with a chef from Taste of the South magazine for a cooking demonstration.
“To meet people that I was a fan of growing up, starting with A.J., is something else,” Namath told INDYCAR.com. “To see the young guys such as Josef Newgarden out there doing their thing surrounded by the teams…It’s amazing what they do in these super race cars.”