Exclusive INDYCAR Nation News

"AMONGST THE FANS" in Birmingham - Day 1

Shaun Pechin
| Apr 10, 2011


The Sun was bright and the temperatures were hot in the IZOD IndyCar Fan Village on Saturday. That didn't stop INDYCAR Nation member Matt Schafer and his father Earl from waiting in line to get their favorite driver's signature. Residents of Atlanta Georgia, this father/son combo have been watching IndyCar races together every since Matt was a kid. Earl explained that IndyCar racing has been the perfect oppurtunity for bonding time with his son.

Matt is a Marco Andretti and Will Power fan, while Earl is a Helio Castroneves fan. The two brought a camper to Barber Motorsports Park for the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama as it is Matt's only real vacation of the year. They attended the inagural event last season and were amazed at how big the event has become after just one year; a feeling shared by many in attendance. They explained a number of improvements the facility had made to help accommodate fans since 2010, with the IndyCar Fan Village being the highlight of it all. When asked how they thought IndyCar was fairing in a primarily NASCAR market, both said that INDYCAR as a whole was really gaining traction and that could be seen by the increase in spectators from just one year ago.

I asked them both which race was their favorite to watch on the television not including the 500. Matt said that St. Petersburg would be his favorite after the great races that have occured over the last couple years. Earl was more a fan of Long Beach due to the enviornment the picturesque city street course offered. However, when asked which racetrack not on the calendar each wanted to see added, Road Atlanta was it.

I appreciate both Matt and Earl taking the time out of their expirience and talking with me. It is great to get out with the folks that make this event and any event on the INDYCAR calendar such
a success. INDYCAR truly has the best fans in the world.

OpenPaddock.net provides motorsports commentary for fans, by fans...including coverage of the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Mazda Road to Indy. Follow us on twitter @OpenPaddock and friend us on Facebook.


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