Birmingham: On Saturday afternoon, October 24, 1998, Alabama Governor, Fob James, on behalf of the State of Alabama, will officially recognize the contributions made to Birmingham, to the State of Alabama and to auto car racing by dedicating the Birmingham International Raceway to the Alabama Gang. This dedication will be highlighted by the unveiling of a bronze statue, created by Gina Newton.
Donnie Allison and Red Farmer, original members of the Alabama Gang will be present during this historic event. Donnie Allison, one of stock car racing's greatest drivers, will be the Grand Marshall for the American IndyCar Series race to be held immediately following the dedication. The other members of the original Alabama Gang included Bobby Allison and Neil Bonnett. The members of the Alabama Gang were part of the group of drivers who competed in the early days of NASCAR, the sanctioning body for American stock car racing. They competed in numerous races at the Birmingham International Raceway.
The American IndyCar Series race will be the first time ever that Indy Cars have raced in Alabama. Tom Drilias of the Alabama State Fair Commission was instrumental in bringing these high powered Indy Cars to be part of this historic dedication and as an official event of the Alabama State Fair. "I felt the community would love to see the Indy Cars race here, therefore we entered into a three year contract with the American IndyCar Series", said Mr. Drilias.
Bret Decker, President of Pan American Motorsports, Inc., parent company of the American IndyCar Series stated he "...was honored to be asked to part of this monumental event and being asked to bring the Indy Cars to the South, the bastion of stock car racing. To have Indy Cars run on a race track made famous by stock car races really goes to show the ongoing growing interest in all facets of auto racing. This is truly an exciting moment for our organization."