BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – The Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix is preparing for its thirteenth race weekend at the Barber Motorsports Park.
“People ask constantly race week ‘are you ready?’ and the answer is, well we’ll be ready when the curtain is drawn back Friday morning because you’re always wanting to make it a little better here and there,” says Gene Hallman, CEO of Eventive Sports.
Eventive Sports says it’s a weekend that takes a full year to prepare for and a lot of the behind-the-scenes work is in high gear before the teams get in Thursday. There’s a lot more work that goes into the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix than just filing drivers in and controlling traffic with fans, it takes the help of the full-time staff, event team and hundreds of volunteers.
“Literally hundreds of people are being employed out here this week helping put on this great show,” says Hallman.
“This is my seventh year,” says volunteer Chuck Lebo.
“And this is either my 20th or 21st,” says volunteer Chuck Bigelow.
‘Chuck 1’ and ‘Chuck 2’, or Chuck Bigelow and Chuck Lebo respectively, met volunteering at Barber Motorsports Park. The pair became fast friends, bonding over their love for racing.
“It’s amazing the friendships you can develop, the camaraderie amongst those who are working with the race teams and those of us that are volunteering with the track,” says Lebo.
“The access you get to some of these racers and some of their trailers and their engineers, you really can’t do at many events,” says Bigelow. “Volunteering at Barber’s is just, just, you’ve just got to come try it.”
Bigelow and Lebo say this year the race feels even more special because of who the sponsor is.
“The racing will be just as good, just as exciting but the reason we’re doing it is even more appealing to me,” says Lebo. “I’d be here anyhow but it really feels good to be a part of it this year.”
This is the first year Children’s of Alabama has been the title sponsor for the Indy Grand Prix but it’s not the only thing making this year’s race special.
“If you haven’t been out since the pandemic, there are going to be a lot of things that are new or that were shelved in the post-pandemic years that will return for the first time this year,” says Hallman.
The racing teams are set to come in Thursday with races starting Friday morning.