Barber IndyCar Notebook - Day 2 UPDATE Series officials have put cones out on the track 200, 300 and 400 feet from the start/finish line in order to help IZOD IndyCar Series drivers evaluate the various location for the restart zone for Sunday's race. IndyCar officials will determine the restart zone based on the drivers' recommendation on a potential restart zone for the race. The zone will be announced in Sunday morning's driver meeting.
04/09/11 The talk in the paddock this weekend is mostly talking about the double file restarts. The track and promoter here are very dedicated and on top of the game. Tons of improvements over last year. They go around asking people what they think...very impressive.
They have trams that shuttle people around the track, taking surveys. Overheard locals on the tram saying they really like this because its a different environment than a NASCAR race. They said the crowd here has "more class" and everything about the racing seems close up and real.
Wally Dallenbach was content to take a back seat to 2004 IZOD IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan for a few quick minutes at Barber Motorsports Park.
Kanaan was the chauffeur in the Indy Racing Experience two-seater around the 2.38-mile, 17-turn natural-terrain course to provide some "perspective" to the new VERSUS broadcaster. Dallenbach, who has competed in stock cars, sports cars and a handful of CART races, welcomed the opportunity and plans to incorporate a virtual lap segment into the broadcasts.
"I appreciate these things enough to know I need some seat time before I start wheeling around myself," he said.
Dallenbach joins Bob Jenkins and Jon Beekhuis in calling the action of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy. It's the first of 12 IZOD IndyCar Series races this year on VERSUS, which also will broadcast Indianapolis 500 qualifications and Miller Lite Carb Day activities. The race day window also includes live telecasts of Firestone Indy Lights races.
"To get a perspective from one of these great drivers in this car around this racetrack gives you a great feel of what they're going through," Dallenbach said. "It's a tight place, a busy racetrack and there are not a whole lot of passing zones, but the places you do you have you really have to suck it up and make it happen."
A.J. Foyt, who didn't attend the season opener March 27 because he underwent a heart procedure two days earlier, is receiving visitors at Barber Motorsports Park. Foyt, who recorded the first of his four Indianapolis 500 victories 50 years ago this May, said he feels considerably better after having a stent inserted.
He watched Vitor Meira finish eighth in the No. 14 ABC Supply car in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
"I was watching from the hospital bed and talked to him the morning before the race and threw out a couple of suggestions," Foyt said. "I don't know if they worked or not. But (the result) was real good."
Foyt has been named the grand marshal of the 50th Rolex 24 at Daytona in January 2012. Foyt, the all-time Indy car winner (67), won race in 1983 and '85. Foyt holds the distinction of leading the first lap of the inaugural Daytona 24, known as the Daytona Continental in 1962, driving a Pontiac Tempest.
Sebastien Bourdais, who did not start the opener because of damage sustained to the car during the morning warm-up, will start 20th in the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America car for Dale Coyne Racing. ... JR Hildebrand improved his starting position by nine over St. Petersburg. He'll start 15th in the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car. ... Al Unser Jr. will drive two-seater -- the "Fastest Seat in Sports" -- that leads the field at the warm-up laps. Mario Andretti was unavailable this weekend.