The truth — in its third year, only a year after the Alabama Tourism Bureau named it the 2011 Event of the Year — is that the secret is out. The weekend, which culminates with the Honda Indy Grand Prix 1 p.m. Sunday, is expected to have an economic impact of more than $33 million for the region, which includes Leeds, Moody and the surrounding areas.
It is, admittedly, still a work in progress for both the event organizers and the city of Leeds. Rex Lake Road is still under construction to provide the four-lane road the district desperately needs. And, as mayor Eric Patterson said, Leeds is still looking for “dining experiences” that will keep more of the fans who attend the races in the area, instead of heading back to Birmingham once the action on the track is concluded.
Even so, the state of Alabama can boast only one open-wheel event on its yearly schedule, and it is taking place right here at home, this weekend. That is something that should cause us all to be proud.
And it should cause us to adjust our schedules. Sunday’s race starts at 1 p.m. sharp.