By KEVIN JACOBS
As the track of Barber Motorsports Park goes up and downwards, so did the positioning of the field for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday. Josef Newgarden won his first Verizon IndyCar Series race, fighting off pole-sitter Helio Castroneves more than once for the lead in an exciting race that featured a good deal of hard racing and bumping of cars with strategic passing all the way till the end.
With as many winners as races for the Verizon IndyCar Series 2015 season, to say the year has been exciting is an understatement. Juan Pablo Montoya holds on to the point’s lead with his 14th place finish, but only because Castroneves ran out of gas on the final lap to finish 15th behind Montoya. If the trend of different winners continues and success from Newgarden and Ryan Hunter-Reay, who are two American drivers, builds, the interest in the sport will win more popularity and casual fans in the U.S.
If the race had five more laps, Graham Rahal may have been the victor. Rahal was gaining ground quickly on Newgarden in the final 15 laps to eventually pass Scott Dixon for the second place finish. The fast, aggressive racing coming from Rahal’s Honda was an exciting way to finish and hopefully builds some momentum going forward into the next race.
A pair of side notes for the Verizon IndyCar Series, the wing flap issue seems to be corrected, so the sector cautions for debris are down due to no flaps flying everywhere, and the absence of Spam signage was missed after the advertising from Long Beach was so prevalent.
Next race is the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9.