The weekend of April 8 I headed to Barber Motorsports Park just east of Birmingham, AL for a weekend of Indy Car racing action! I've attended around 20 motorcycle races, but this was my first auto race, and it was a blast! The Indy Car series was the premier race, and there were several other races throughout the weekend, featuring all sorts of cars. It was loud, fast, and fun!
As I've done for motorcycle races at Barber, I volunteered, which is a sweet deal: for 5 hours of work on Saturday morning (which is actually pretty fun ... this time I worked paddock access, so I was responsible for making sure everyone entering the paddock had the proper credentials [selling to them if they didn't already have] and making sure they'd signed a release of liability waiver) I got substantially discounted tickets, preferred parking, a nice Polo shirt and hat, a meal the day I worked, and snacks and drinks throughout the weekend.
Danica Patrick zooming by. You can't really see it in the photo, but she's waving at me. ;-)
I'd LOVE to do the Porsche driving school they offer at the track. Gotta save my coins. Lots of coins.
Mazda 3's (what I drive) were one of the cars raced!
Mini Coopers! They must be a hoot to race.
All business ... not much in the way of creature comforts.
Looking across the start/finish line from pit row.
This is a prototype Motus motorcycle that is being developed in the Birmingham area; I had read about it in a cycle magazine a few months back, so it was quite a treat to see it in person. Wish I could have heard it run; the article stated that its gasoline direct injection V4 motor sounds quite nice.
Sunday morning before heading to the track I had a covered bridge adventure in Blount County, just north of Birmingham, which is home to 3 historic covered bridges. The first one I visited was the Horton Mill Bridge, built in 1934. It is 220 feet long and 70 feet above water, making it the highest covered bridge above water in the U.S. It is right off Highwy 75 north of Oneonta and is very easy to find.
The next one that I visited was the Easley Bridge, built in 1927; it is 95 feet long and is accessible via Easley Bridge Road off of US 231. While I was there 2 fellows rode up on a Suzuki SV650S and a Honda VFR, so I chatted with them for a while. One of them was from Vancouver and was living down this way temporarily and had bought the SV to ride while he's living there. They knew of 2 of the 3 bridges in the area, so I showed them how to get to the third, and they were pretty excited about that.
The third one I visited was the Swann Bridge, built in 1933. At 324 feet long, it is the longest covered bridge in AL and one of the longest in the nation. It is accessible via Swann Bridge Road (a long, winding road) only from the west. Looking at a map, accessing it from the east looks much simpler, but that road ends on private property before you get to the bridge.
I had a most excellent time and look forward to returning for next year's Indy weekend!