By: Spencer Neff
On Sunday, the month of April will conclude with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES’ first trip to a natural terrain road course this season.
Barber Motorsports Park will host its 14th event for the series, the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix.
The 90-lap race on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course in Birmingham, Alabama will be the fourth of the season and the last prior to the month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
With cars schedule to hit the track on Friday afternoon, let’s go over some of the big news items before the weekend kicks off.
After a dominant performance at Long Beach, Kyle Kirkwood earned his first career pole position and victory in the series, further validating Andretti Autosport’s decision to add him to the team during the offseason. The driver of the No. 27 entry led a 1-2 for Andretti Autosport with teammate Romain Grosjean, their first since Mid Ohio 2 in 2020.
Kirkwood, who finished 22nd at Barber last year, vaulted himself to fifth in the points standings.
After finishing third as part of a Top Five sweep for Honda-powered teams, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson currently holds a 15-point lead over Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward, the 2022 race winner at Barber. Ericsson has yet to record a victory on a natural terrain road course in his career.
In his 2019 debut at the venue (with the now Arrow McLaren team), the Swede finished seventh, the best of his three Barber starts. He is the only driver currently in the Top Four in points without a victory at Barber.
O’Ward will look to put a disappointing 17th-place finish at Long Beach amid multiple incidents behind him and defend his victory from a year ago.
Also looking for a bit of a rebound will be three-time Barber winner Josef Newgarden. After finishing ninth at Long Beach on April 16, the double series champion led last Thursday’s Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Getting a fourth win at this track could provide a spark for the No.2 team ahead of the month of May.
Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix Fast Facts
Race weekend: Friday, April 28 – Sunday, April 30
Track: Barber Motorsports Park, a 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course (clockwise) in Birmingham,Alabama
Race distance: 90 laps / 207 miles (NTT INDYCAR SERIES) | 35 laps / 80.5 miles / 55 minutes(INDY NXT by Firestone)
Push-to-pass parameters: NTT INDYCAR SERIES: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum single duration of 20 seconds. The push-to-pass is not available on the initial start or any restartunless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race. | INDY NXT by Firestone:150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation
Firestone tire allotment (NTT INDYCAR SERIES): Six sets primary, four sets alternate. Oneadditional set is available to rookie drivers for use in the Friday afternoon practice session.
Twitter: @BarberMotorPark @IndyCar, @INDYNXT, #INDYBHM, #IndyCar
Instagram: @BarberMotorPark, @INDYCAR, #INDYBHM, #INDYCAR
Facebook: @BarberMotorsportsPark, @INDYCAR, @INDYNXT, #INDYBHM, #INDYCAR
TikTok: @INDYCAR, @INDYNXT, #INDYCAR
Event website: http://www.indyalabama.com
NTT INDYCAR SERIES website: http://www.indycar.com | INDY NXT by Firestonewebsite:http://www.indynxt.com
2022 race winners:
NTT INDYCAR SERIES-Pato O’Ward (No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet)
INDY NXT by Firestone-Linus Lundqvist (No. 26 HMD Motorsports)
2022 NTT P1 Award winner (NTT INDYCAR SERIES): Rinus VeeKay (No. 21 Ed CarpenterRacing Chevrolet), 1 minute, 6.2507 seconds, 124.980 mph
2022 INDY NXT by Firestone pole winner: Linus Lundqvist (No. 26 HMD Motorsports )1:12.5713, 114.095 mph
NTT INDYCAR SERIES-Pato O’Ward, 1:05.5019, 126.409 mph, April 17, 2021 (set in Round 2 of qualifying)
INDY NXT by Firestone-Linus Lundqvist, 1:11:5149, 115.780 mph, April 16, 2021
NBC Sports race telecast: 3 p.m. ET Sunday, April 30, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES alongside analysts TownsendBell and James Hinchcliffe.
Peacock live streaming: All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on Peacock, NBC’s direct-to-consumer live-streaming product. NBC’s Children’s ofAlabama Indy Grand Prix race telecast will be simulcast on the streaming service. The INDYNXT by Firestone Grand Prix of Alabama will be streamed on Peacock Premium with practice and qualifying shown on INDYCAR LIVE.
INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the anchor alongside driver analystDavey Hamilton. Jake Query and Nick Yeoman are the turn announcers. Michael Young, Alex Wollf and Georgia Henneberry are the pit reporters.
The Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prixrace (2:30 p.m. ET), INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of Alabama (12:45 p.m. ET) and all NTT INDYCAR SERIES and INDY NXT by Firestone practices and qualifying sessions air live on network affiliates, SiriusXM 160, racecontrol.indycar.com and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.
At-track schedule (All Times Local/Central Time):
Friday, April 28
1:40-2:25 p.m. – INDY NXT by Firestone practice, INDYCAR LIVE
2:40-3:55 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice (75 minutes), Peacock
Saturday, April 29
10-10:45 a.m. – INDY NXT by Firestone practice, INDYCAR LIVE
11 a.m.-noon – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice (45 minutes), Peacock
1:20-1:40 p.m. – INDY NXT by Firestone, INDYCAR LIVE
2-3:15 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifying), Peacock
Sunday, April 30
11-11:30 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup, Peacock 11:55 a.m. – INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of Alabama “Drivers, start your engines”
Noon – INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of Alabama (35 laps/55 minutes), Peacock.
2 p.m. – NBC on air
2:23 p.m. – Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix “Drivers, start your engines”
2:30 p.m. – Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix (90 laps / 207 miles), NBC (Live)
Header Image By Chris Jones/INDYCAR