The IndyCar Series is a North American-based open wheel racing series featuring the fastest cars and most versatile drivers in the world. It's the only racing series in the world to feature a competitive mix of oval speedways, permanent road and temporary street courses. Truly an international series, this year's schedule will see 22 participants from 10 different countries competing in 16 races across 3 countries. The crown jewel in the schedule is the Indianapolis 500, known as the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" and traditionally held on Memorial Day weekend each year.
Each IndyCar driver uses the DW12 chassis, produced by Italian manufacturer, Dallara. Debuted for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar season, the DW12 was tested extensively at Barber Motorsports Park over the Summer of 2011 by the late Dan Wheldon. Featuring numerous safety and aerodynamic improvements, the new chassis was the first redesign of the racing tub in several years.
Longtime partner Firestone supplies all IndyCar teams with Firestone Firehawk racing tires, no matter the racing or weather conditions. For the race at Barber Motorsports Park, each team will receive two different sets of tires they must use during the race. The "black" sidewall tires are more durable in their construction but sacrifice adhesion, while the alternate "red" sidewall tires are made of a softer compound and will provide more grip but will not last as long under race conditions as the "blacks".
Engine competition returned to the series in 2012 with two different manufacturers supplying 2.2 liter V6 engines to the teams. After a six year hiatus, "newcomer" Chevrolet introduced its own twin turbo V-6 (produced by Ilmor) to compete against long-time supplier Honda, whose own V6 engines are produced by Honda Performance Development. Each engine is tuned to produce a horsepower range of 550 to 700 hp with an RMP limit of 12,000.
2010 marked the inaugural Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, introducing over 80,000 fans to open-wheel racing. Penske Racing driver Will Power captured the pole while fellow Penske driver Helio Castroneves captured the green flag. Target Chip Ganassi drivers Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.
In 2011, former pole winner Will Power started the race P1 and went wire to wire to lead all 90 laps for the win. Target Chip Ganassi drivers Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti rounded out the podium again with 2nd and 3rd. Most notable was Tony Kanaan's 6th place finish after starting in 24th.
2012 saw some familiar faces, but different circumstances. Helio Castroneves captured the pole, but his teammate Will Power drove a masterful race, storming the field from 9th to 1st for his second win at Barber. Target Chip Ganassi's Scott Dixon finished in 2nd (his 3rd at Barber) while pole-sitter Castroneves finished 3rd.
2013 saw Penske Racing's domination of Barber broken by Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay, who not only captured the Verizon P1 Pole Award but also drove wire-to-wire for the win. Finishing second for an astonishing and heartbreaking 4th consecutive year was Target Chip Ganassi's Scott Dixon, while 3rd place belonged to Penske's Helio Castroneves. Also putting on an impressive drive was Ganassi's Charlie Kimbell who finished 4th after a career-best 5th qualifying spot.