Barber Predictions and Prognostications: Alabama Getaway

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As IndyCar teams, drivers and fans – including a number of our more intrepid followers – make their way south for a race weekend outside Birmingham, a serious question arises. When it comes to vacation destinations, obviously there are a helluva lot better options than central Alabama. For example, almost anywhere else – save for Detroit. So what’s the attraction, we wonder? It can’t be the statuary.

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Photo from the web

Nor is it likely to be the racing, which takes us to our special prediction for this purpose-built motorbike track. Don’t expect cautions to free viewers from monotony jail like at Long Beach, as the wide open spaces of Barber are almost always amenable to clean, green flag racing. Translation – a single file procession at interstate speeds. See Pags’ win from pole in 2016 for proof. Want more evidence? IndyCar’s last three at the quirky facility have averaged fewer than two cautions per race, although unusually 2014 saw five yellows. Talk about flighty!

Pick for pole is positively Penske, as it’s predictably their plunder. The Cap’n’s crew have purloined the last four in a row at BMSP, with Helio, Pags and Power all getting in on the action. Continue reading

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Barber Preview: Broken Record Edition

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More records are likely to be broken as IndyCar screeches into Alabama this weekend, the series’ third consecutive race since inexplicably skipping an entire month after the St. Pete opener. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but Team Penske’s success at Barber is nearly as unblemished as a mint condition Beatles vinyl still in the original packaging.

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Josef “new American hero” Newgarden (according to Robin Miller) has swiped two of the last three at the deep south’s premier motorbike track, an undeniably impressive album of work. Continue reading

Barber Predictions & Prognostications: Alonso’s Cherry Edition

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Fernando Alonso’s IndyCar cherry is about to be popped in Alabama, and it’s going to be messy for Andretti Autosport.

The former champ and soon to be f-ing F1 invader will be attending his first ever race on Sunday. If as reported he thinks he’s racing with “the least power ever” now in an F1 McLaren Honda, then just wait until the Spaniard’s in an AA Honda come May.

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Image from twitter.com

Our special prediction of the race is that Fernando will feel his first time’s somewhat awkward and painful. Join the club, as many of us feel the same way particularly when watching a race at Barber. After all, it is a frickin’ motorbike track. However, we’re certain that at thirty five Alonso won’t publicly admit it.

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Photo from imgth.com

Our pole prediction is similarly agonizing, Continue reading

Barber IndyCar Preview: The Barber of Seville

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Fernando, Fernando, Fernand-o!

The announcement during the off week that Fernando Alonso will be running in the Indy 500 was the biggest news item since another f-ing F1 invader won the 100th 500 as a rookie, running out of fuel and coasting to the finish.

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Photo from sports.usatoday.com

Reportedly the Spaniard in question will be at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend to watch his first Indy style race in person. It’s just too bad his initial experience won’t be at a better track. A former F1 champ, Alonso unquestionably brings some star power to the states. However, we prefer to focus on those drivers who actually will be driving this weekend rather than merely spectating.

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Photo from indycar.com

Happily some drivers will be working Sunday rather than vacationing, albeit with less attention than Alonso, which brings up several questions. Continue reading

Barber Race Review: Friends Edition

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So much for a friends reunion at IndyCar’s annual parade ’round a motorcycle track in Alabama. None were made and, what’s worse, auld acquaintances fractured under the pressure Sunday afternoon.

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Photo from indycar.com

The Cap’n’s Frenchman Simon Pagenaud – who has few friends – dominated the road course race winning from pole. It’s his second straight triumph and sixth overall, a trend that won’t win him many new friends in the IndyCar paddock. The fuel saving and “coasting” exhibited yet again during the affair won’t win the series many new fans, either.

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Photo from indycar.com

It was a fugly start, with AA‘s Carlos “unfriendly” Munoz smashing into Mad Russian Mikhail Aleshin. Continue reading

Barber IndyCar Predictions and Prognostications: Haircut Edition

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Image from youtube.com

The annual series trip to Alabama always feels like it did when you were a kid going to get a haircut. It’s discomfiting. There’s a million things you’d rather do. Such a waste of time and energy. Something unpleasant that one must endure every so often. Aww, MO-M!

But go to Barber Motorsports Park IndyCar does, therefore like those hairs stuck to your collar after a shearing, our rug like coverage follows.

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Let’s get NBCSN‘s “beautiful” and “gorgeous” description of Barber prediction out of the way first, and it has nothing to do with hairdos. Repeating this ad nauseam is the last refuge of broadcasting politeness, something they say when the track’s nice looking but the racing sucks. Which, if the race is like every other one held there except Josef Newgarden’s first win last year, it’ll make a trip to get a haircut look downright fun.

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Photo from caranddriver.com

Our special prediction this week is both troubling and general in nature. Continue reading

Media Day Mashup With Live Updates

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Image from media.gm.com

Top Story: Chevrolet unveiled depictions of its road and short oval aero kits, stealing the march on Honda with a slick presentation, including a video. It’s been safety checked, tested by Team Penske and TCGR and we must point out looks rather odd with the “flicks” – all the little winglets and doo-dads on the front and rear wings, in particular. IRR asked in a tweet whether the Hondas and Chevys would truly be discernible on track this season, even with the new aero kits. After all that along with increased speeds was the main point of the program.

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Image from media.gm.com

Less is More?: Sage Karam was confirmed at Target in the 8 car for St. Pete only, representing a contraction for Target to three cars. Same goes for Andretti, though they don’t even have a fourth car set for the opener. We predicted this here and here.

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Image from Indy Race Reviewer

Wrong, wrong wrong: Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review: Beachfront Edition

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Good News First: There were no race cancellations announced by either IndyCar or any third world countries this week, nor did the series or any of its teams close up shop or declare bankruptcy. The series did head south, however.

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Testing Obsolescence at NOLA: Fourteen drivers tested at the NOLA road course this week south of New Orleans, Louisiana. Alongside SeBass KV ran newcomer Stefano Coletti from Monaco, a fresh foreign face whose first ever IndyCar experience was in December at Sebring with Schmidt Peterson Motorsport. The aero kits aren’t out yet (see below), so testing was in some ways a waste. On the positive side, the swampy addition to the schedule is getting glowing reviews from drivers. Juan Pablo Montoya’s one word take was “Wow!”

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Photo from indycar.com

Blast From the Last: In a surprise appearance, sedate Englishman and starter of fifty IndyCar races James Jakes tested SPM’s second car at NOLA. Continue reading