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

Malcolm Stewart sidelined by knee surgery for ‘extended duration’

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The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.

“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.

“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”

Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.

He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.

The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.

“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.

“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”

Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.

A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.