The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will be the fifth Verizon IndyCar Series event conducted at Barber Motorsports Park.
Andretti looking to move up
After finishing a career-best fifth in the 2013 standings, Marco Andretti is looking to finish with a championship for the first time in his career. Driving for his father Michael's team, Marco hopes to add to his family's storied racing history in 2014.
The Ganassi-Andretti engine swap
Chip Ganassi has a habit of shaking things up for his team on a regular basis. This year, his Verizon IndyCar Series team switched to the Chevrolet engine. Meanwhile, Andretti Autosport, which won the 2012 championship with Chevrolet power and driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, has made the move to Honda. Although Honda and Chevy ended up nearly equal in terms of race wins in 2013 (Will Power's victory in the season finale tipped the balance in favor of Chevy, 10-9), Scott Dixon won the championship with Honda. For the first time since INDYCAR's 2.2-liter turbo V-6 specification was introduced, Honda will utilize twin turbochargers.
James Hinchcliffe, Simon Pagenaud and Charlie Kimball all scored their first win in 2013, finished top 10 in the championship standings and established themselves as the next stars of the sport. Will 2014 be the year a new, young star becomes a champion?
The Verizon IndyCar Series features a group of home-grown drivers who represent the stars and stripes in the most diverse series in motorsports. Former series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, race winners Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter, Charlie Kimball and Graham Rahal and rising star Josef Newgarden all worked their way up the American open-wheel ladder to reach the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Second-generation driver Graham Rahal will look to return Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing to victory lane sporting the colors of the Army National Guard. Can he fulfill the promise he showed early in his career with another strong performance at Barber.
Briscoe returns to Chip Ganassi Racing stable
Ryan Briscoe returns to the team where he started in Verizon IndyCar Series career - Chip Ganassi Racing. The Australian, who has seven wins to his credit, will drive the No. 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, renewing the relationship that began at the Indianapolis 500 in 2013. How will Briscoe fare in his second go-around with Chip Ganassi Racing?
The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama - Race Notes:
· Helio Castroneves, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power are the only drivers to have won at Barber Motorsports Park. Castroneves won the inaugural race in 2010, Power won the race in 2011 and 2012 and Hunter-Reay won in 2013. All three are entered in this year's race.
· Helio Castroneves, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power are the only drivers to have won the pole position at Barber Motorsports Park. Power claimed the pole position both 2010 and 2011, Castroneves won the pole in 2012 and Hunter-Reay won the pole in 2013
· Two drivers have won the race from the pole - Will Power in 2010 and Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2013.
· Eighteen (18) drivers entered in the event have competed in Verizon IndyCar Series races at Barber Motorsports Park. Eight of those drivers led laps: (Will Power 133, Helio Castroneves 73, Marco Andretti 58, Ryan Hunter-Reay 53, Scott Dixon 38, Charlie Kimball 3, James Hinchcliffe 1and Graham Rahal 1).
· Thirteen drivers have competed in every Indy car race at Barber - Marco Andretti, Helio Castroneves, Simona De Silvestro, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Will Power, Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato, Alex Tagliani, E.J. Viso and Justin Wilson. Nine of those drivers are entered this year.
· At least five drivers will compete in their first Verizon IndyCar Series race at Barber Motorsports Park: Mikhail Aleshin, Jack Hawksworth, Carlos Huertas, Juan Pablo Montoya and Carlos Munoz. Munoz and Hawksworth competed on the track in Indy Lights with Munoz winning the 2013 race.
· Team Penske has three wins at Barber Motorsports Park. Andretti Autosport is the only other team to win at the track.
· Firestone, a brand known for performance and innovation, recognizes teamwork at the highest level with the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award. For each Verizon IndyCar Series event this year, with the exception of the Indianapolis 500-mile race, the team with the shortest amount of accumulated time on pit lane will be awarded $10,000. During doubleheader events, the winning teams will be awarded $5,000 per race. INDYCAR shall determine the recipient following the conclusion of the race. The No. 12 Verizon Team Penske crew won the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with a total pit lane time of 75.89 seconds, as driver Will Power finished second in the race. Verizon Team Penske will receive the award during pre-race festivities at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.