BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Barber Motorsports Park and Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama race officials did something that not a lot of tracks, nor a lot of events, do these days in racing.
They released actual attendance figures. In numbers. Like, not estimated.
A release from the track yesterday read:
“The 2016 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama announced a 3-day attendance of 83,765. This was the second highest weekend attendance – the first highest attendance was in 2010 with an attendance of 84,126.”
If you average that over three days, it’s just under 28,000 per day – but that number is probably much higher for Saturday and Sunday because the weather was damn near perfect and on Friday there was a lot of rain and lightning in the area.
And if you accept, perhaps grudgingly, that 30,000 or more for race day is a “good” new number for attendance – we’re not going back to the halycon days of 50,000 or 60,000 anytime soon – then you see that Barber has firmly established itself as one of the more important events on the Verizon IndyCar Series calendar.
Corporate support is strong from Honda and with the race being one of the “racier” events on the calendar, it’s quickly entering the upper echelon of races the series should look forward to year after year.
Where it falls for 2017, assuming it returns, will be interesting to watch. This weekend next year would be April 21-23 and could fall a week before Phoenix, if that moves to the end of the month.