April 11 in Motorsports History: Barber welcomes IndyCar Series

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The South might be traditionally associated with NASCAR racing, but just outside Birmingham, Alabama, is a picturesque 16-turn road course that firmly has established itself as a staple of the IndyCar calendar.

Barber Motorsports Park opened in 2003, and the IndyCar Series first conducted test sessions at the facility in October 2007 and March 2009. On June 27, 2009, it was announced that the facility would be added to the IndyCar calendar in 2010.

Helio Castroneves celebrates after winning the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber. (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)

The April 11, 2010 race at the facility was an immediate success with an estimated crowd of 55,000. Will Power won the pole position and was seeking his third consecutive victory after winning at Sao Paulo and St. Petersburg.

However, it would be Power’s teammate celebrating. Helio Castroneves took the lead from Marco Andretti with nine laps remaining and held off Scott Dixon in a two-lap dash to the finish to collect his first victory of the season.

Castroneves’ victory was the 23rd of his career, and he passed Emerson Fittipaldi as the winningest Brazilian in IndyCar history.

The victory was also his first as a father. In an emotional moment, he held his daughter, Mikaella, in victory lane.

“I want her to share this moment with me,” Castroneves told Versus following the race. “I wanted it sooner than later, and she’s certainly here.”

Castroneves went on to win twice more in 2010 and finished fourth in the points standings.

Also on this date:

1993: Ayrton Senna won the European Grand Prix at England’s Donington Park circuit. Driving from fifth to first in the opening lap, Senna dominated the 76-lap event, winning by a margin of 1 minute, 29.199 seconds over Damon Hill.

1999: Mika Hakkinen won the Grand Prix of Brazil at Interlagos, the first of five victories in his championship season.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter @michaele1994