IRL: Sweet home Alabama?

April 2, 2009
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
barberWhile Indy Racing League teams and officials are heading to St. Petersburg, Fla. for the April 5 season opener, their mind may be wandering to not-so-far away Alabama.

In March, IRL teams made their third testing trip to the Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham. When about 20,000 spectators showed up for the two-day testing run, that got IRL officials’ attention.

“[Barber officials] told us they liked our property and think they can build a business around an [IRL] race there,” said Terry Angstadt, president of IRL’s commercial division. “It’s nice to hear that. They couldn’t have rolled out the red carpet at that track and in the surrounding community more than they did.”

Angstadt said there is a solid shot the Barber road course could be added to the IRL slate in 2010 or 2011. Several turns in the course would have to be widened to accommodate passing, Angstadt said, and widening pit row also would be nice. Despite it being in the heart of NASCAR country, it’s a market IRL officials are eager to penetrate.

“It’s not a DMA that jumps out, but if you look at the three-hour radius, that’s 24 million people,” Angstadt said. “Firestone loves this market. There are lots of automotive manufacturers there, and since we left Nashville (Tenn.) it could give us a stronger presence in the Southeast."

Another problem, said Angstadt, is there are no grandstands. But he thinks those could be relatively easily added. The facility does have a sizable media center and museum.

“It’s like Augusta (home of The Master’s), with rolling elevation and magnolia trees,” he said. “It’s the prettiest motorsports facility you’ll ever lay eyes on.”

With the IRL looking to add races earlier in the year, Alabama could be a good fit.

"We have capacity at the front end of our schedule,” Angstadt said. “Ideally, we want to start our season in March and end in October. We have 17 races now, and I could see expanding to 20 pretty comfortably.”

Alabama isn’t the only new location IRL officials are considering. Facilities in Cleveland, Houston, Brazil and China also are being studied, Angstadt said.
ADVERTISEMENT
  • I hope the IRL keeps an eye on their growth. Too many races will make it tough on teams in this economy. Hard to tell when the recession will be over. They also need to work on establishing history at courses. I hope they do not get into the business of hopping from track to track to get the best deal.

    Alabama would be a great spring break track. Lots of northerners down for vacation. 20,000 for a test is a good show.
  • China? wow!
  • Which oval will get dropped for the Barber roadcourse? Did anyone tell _TG that Brazil is in South America and not by Greencastle?
  • It'll be grate. And there really isn't any need for grandstands. :lol:

    Can somebody please tell talkin' Terry that he does not sound smart. No, wait, he's a great comedy source, tell him to keep on monetizing his paradigms.
  • You guys need to calm down a bit. It looks like TOneys got a potential title sponsor on the hook --> http://tinyurl.com/IRLTitleSponsorSearch

    Let's wait a bit and see if this one gets away too.
  • It's perfect. Hopefully it will kill the rotten stench coming from the track.
  • It's one thing to post the kind of comments and hate you guys continue to harbor, but it's another thing to put up a link like you did SSD. While on one hand it is humerous, on the other, you may be crossing the line of no return.
  • What else would you expect from them. It just confirms that they have no lives. I mean who else would take time to do something like that for a series they hate? I have more important things to do with my life.
  • BerwickGuy:

    Humor. it works. :lol:


    Gawd knows the IRL doesn't.
  • Da Hooey:

    Tell that to Briscoe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Justin Wilson.

Post a comment to this blog

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
  1. Looking at the two companies - in spite of their relative size to one another -- Ricker's image is (by all accounts) pretty solid and reputable. Their locations are clean, employees are friendly and the products they offer are reasonably priced. By contrast, BP locations are all over the place and their reputation is poor, especially when you consider this is the same "company" whose disastrous oil spill and their response was nothing short of irresponsible should tell you a lot. The fact you also have people who are experienced in franchising saying their system/strategy is flawed is a good indication that another "spill" has occurred and it's the AM-PM/Ricker's customers/company that are having to deal with it.

  2. Daniel Lilly - Glad to hear about your points and miles. Enjoy Wisconsin and Illinois. You don't care one whit about financial discipline, which is why you will blast the "GOP". Classic liberalism.

  3. Isn't the real reason the terrain? The planners under-estimated the undulating terrain, sink holes, karst features, etc. This portion of the route was flawed from the beginning.

  4. You thought no Indy was bad, how's no fans working out for you? THe IRl No direct competition and still no fans. Hey George Family, spend another billion dollars, that will fix it.

  5. I live downtown Indy and had to be in downtown Chicago for a meeting. In other words, I am the target demographic for this train. It leaves at 6:00-- early but doable. Then I saw it takes 5+ hours. No way. I drove. I'm sure I paid 3 to 5 times as much once you factor in gas, parking, and tolls, but it was reimbursed so not a factor for me. Any business traveler is going to take the option that gets there quickly and reliably... and leisure travelers are going to take the option that has a good schedule and promotional prices (i.e., Megabus). Indy to Chicago is the right distance (too short to fly but takes several hours to drive) that this train could be extremely successful even without subsidies, if they could figure out how to have several frequencies (at least 3x/day) and make the trip in a reasonable amount of time. For those who have never lived on the east coast-- Amtrak is the #1 choice for NY-DC and NY-Boston. They have the Acela service, it runs almost every hour, and it takes you from downtown to downtown. It beats driving and flying hands down. It is too bad that we cannot build something like this in the midwest, at least to connect the bigger cities.

ADVERTISEMENT