BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Barber Motorsports Park hasn’t had the tendency to throw up a ton of caution flags, except for five years ago.
Some six cautions for 20 laps peppered the 2011 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, which Will Power led flag-to-flag en route to victory.
Meanwhile, there were two very notable debuts in the field: James Hinchcliffe and Simon Pagenaud.
Hinchcliffe made his IndyCar debut and qualified eighth with Newman/Haas Racing, but ended 24th after contact with E.J. Viso.
Meanwhile Pagenaud, in his first IndyCar start under INDYCAR sanction (rather than Champ Car), filled in admirably for an injured Ana Beatriz at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing started 23rd and finished eighth. Pagenaud had been out of top level North American open-wheel racing since 2007, when he was a rookie in Champ Car.
It’s interesting looking back at this now, because Pagenaud is on the hottest streak of his career and Hinchcliffe is back full-time after his accident last year.
Eight cars failed to finish and behind Power, Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti completed the podium. Marco Andretti finished fourth with Oriol Servia fifth.
It was the last year of the old Dallara IR03 chassis and Honda V8 engines, before the debut of the Dallara DW12 chassis and turbocharged V6 engines that were introduced in 2012.