LEEDS, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s race weekend at Barber Motorsports Park and IndyCar drivers are excited to be back at the racetrack after COVID-19 shut everything down last year.
It’s been two years since a champion has been crowned at Barber for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. With fans eager to watch, drivers are even more excited to get back behind the wheel.
“To be back here is awesome,” said 2019 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Champion Takuma Sato.
“We want to go racing, we’ve put a lot of hard work into the offseason,” said Alex Palou, IndyCar driver with Chip Ganassi Racing.
“This facility is awesome, it always takes my breath away when I come here,” said IndyCar driver Max Chilton.
Twenty-four drivers will race 90 laps around the 2.38-mile track in front of a sold-out crowd on Sunday with all eyes on NASCAR Legend and 7-time Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson, who’s making his IndyCar debut.
“This is an awesome series and I’m honored to be part of it. I’m happy to bring some eyeballs to it, but at the end of the day, this is for me, this is what I want to do, I want to be an IndyCar driver. I want to be out there with these guys. For once in my career, I’m putting more of a selfish-hat on, this is about my experience and me really testing myself,” said Johnson on a Zoom call Friday afternoon.
Although he hasn’t raced yet, Johnson’s presence at the track has already changed the atmosphere of the sport.
“I can see with his attention to detail and work ethic why he’s a 7-time champion, he’s been a lot of fun to work with and he’s helping the sport,” said Scott Dixon, IndyCar driver for Chip Ganassi Racing and Jimmie’s teammate.
Sunday’s race is sold out, but there’s still a limited number of tickets available for Saturday’s qualifying. For more information, click HERE.