Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Race Preview

“We have one goal this weekend and that is to get back to our winning ways at Barber. After logging race wins in 2013 and 2014 we’ve spent too much time away from the podium here. The team, as a whole, has done a great job through the first two rounds of the series when it comes to fielding fast, competitive race cars. Long Beach is yet another race that slipped form our grasp, so we’ll be looking to rebound strong this weekend.”

Fast Facts

Track: Barber Motorsports Park, a 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course (clockwise) in Birmingham, Alabama

Race distance: 90 laps / 207 miles

Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.

Firestone tire allotment: Seven sets primary, four sets alternate

Twitter: @BarberMotorPark @IndyCar, #HIGPA, #IndyCar

Event website: www.barbermotorsports.com

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2016 race winner: Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet)

2016 Verizon P1 Award winner: Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet), 1:06.7262, 124.089 mph

Qualifying lap record: Sebastien Bourdais, 1:06.6001, 124.324 mph, April 23, 2016 (Set in Round 2 of knockout qualifying)

NBCSN race broadcast: Sunday, April 23 (3 p.m. ET, live)

NBCSN qualifying broadcast: Saturday, April 22 (4:30 p.m. ET)

Leigh Diffey will be the play-by-play announcer for NBCSN’s telecast of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller are the pit reporters.

Radio broadcasts: The Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network is led by chief announcer Mark Jaynes, with analyst Davey Hamilton. Turn reporters are Jake Query and Nick Yeoman, with Rob Howden and Michael Young reporting from the pits. All Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app.

Video Streaming: All practice sessions will be available on RaceControl.IndyCar.com and on the INDYCAR YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/indycar)

INDYCAR Mobile app: Verizon’s INDYCAR Mobile app is available across all carriers. Exclusive features of the app for Verizon Wireless customers will stream live through the app and include enhanced real-time leaderboard and car telemetry; live in-car camera video streaming for select drivers during Verizon IndyCar Series races; live driver and pit crew radio transmissions during races and live Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network audio streaming during all track activities.

At-track schedule (all times local):

Friday, April 21
10:45 – 11:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #1, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com (live)
2:25 – 3:10 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #2, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com (live)

Saturday, April 22
11 – 11:45 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #3, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com (live)
3:15 p.m. – Qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award (three rounds of Verizon IndyCar Series knockout qualifications), NBCSN (telecast starts at 3:30 p.m.)

Sunday, April 23
9:45-10:15 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series warm-up, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com (live)
2 p.m. – Driver Introductions
2 p.m. – NBCSN on air
2:35 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines” command
2:42 p.m. – Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama (90 laps/207 miles), NBCSN (live)

Race Notes:

  • James Hinchcliffe completed the story of his comeback from serious injury claiming his first win of the season – and first since his 2015 injury – at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 9. The Canadian, who made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut at Barber in 2011, trails four-time Indy car champion Sebastien Bourdais by 19 points for the championship lead heading into this weekend’s race.
  • The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will be the eighth Verizon IndyCar Series event conducted at Barber Motorsports Park.
  • Helio Castroneves, Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud are the only drivers to have won at Barber Motorsports Park. Castroneves won the inaugural race in 2010, Power won the race in 2011 and 2012, Hunter-Reay in 2013 and 2014, Newgarden in 2015 and Pagenaud in 2016.
  • Castroneves, Hunter-Reay, Power and Pagenaud are the only drivers to have won the pole position at Barber Motorsports Park. Pagenaud won the pole in 2016. Power claimed the pole position in 2010, 2011 and 2014; Castroneves won the pole in 2012 and 2015 and Hunter-Reay in 2013
  • Three drivers have won the race from the pole – Power in 2011, Hunter-Reay in 2013 and Pagenaud in 2016.
  • Scott Dixon has finished on the podium in six of his seven previous starts at Barber Motorsports Park – including four runner-up finishes – but he has yet to finish on the top step of the podium at the picturesque road circuit – one of the five tracks on the 2017 schedule where he has raced more than once and hasn’t won. Dixon is fourth on the all-time Indy car victory list with 40 wins.
  • Eight drivers have competed in every Indy car race at Barber – Marco Andretti, Castroneves, Dixon, Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Power, Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato. All are entered this year.
  • Team Penske has four wins at Barber Motorsports Park (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016). Andretti Autosport and Ed Carpenter Racing are the only other teams to win at the track. Andretti Autosport won in 2013 and 2014 with Hunter-Reay. Ed Carpenter Racing won with Newgarden in 2015.
  • Rookies Ed Jones and Zach Veach and second-year competitor Spencer Pigot will race Verizon IndyCar Series cars at Barber Motorsports Park for the first time this weekend. Jones and Pigot, the last two Indy Lights champions, have competed at the circuit in the Mazda Road to Indy, as did Veach, who will make his Verizon IndyCar Series debut as a substitute for JR Hildebrand, who sustained a broken bone in his left hand in a last-lap crash April 9 at Long Beach.
  • Kanaan seeks to start his 268th consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Teammate Dixon has made 209 consecutive starts heading into the weekend, which is the third-longest streak in Indy car racing.
  • Castroneves will attempt to make his 330th career Indy car start, which ranks fourth on the all-time list. Kanaan will attempt to make his 329th Indy car start, which is fifth all-time. Both are competing in their 20th season of Indy car racing in 2017.
  • Since 2012, the Verizon IndyCar Series has averaged 8.75 different race winners per season, including a record-tying 11 winners in 2014. There were eight different winners in the 16 races of 2016 with an equally tight competition projected for the 2017 season.
  • Drivers may engage their “push-to-pass” for a total of 200 seconds during the race, with a maximum duration of 20 seconds for any one activation. The push-to-pass is not available on the initial race start or any restart unless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race. The feature increases the power of the engine by approximately 60 horsepower for 2017.
  • The No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda crew of James Hinchcliffe won the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports crew will receive its $10,000 award during pre-race festivities at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
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