Mayor Eric Patterson couldn’t be more excited to show off his city.
“I’m excited about the event,” Patterson said Tuesday. “I think it will be a way for people to see Leeds.”
Tickets remain on sale for this weekend’s Indy Racing Weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, located on Rex Lake Road. The big event is Sunday’s Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, the first Indy Racing League event in the Southeast. Well-known names such as Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves, Dan Wheldon and Danica Patrick will be on hand for the race.
“We’ve got a large staff of people working on this event from all over the country,” said Gene Hallman, president of the Bruno Event Team. “Our goal is very simple: to be the best we could possibly be in all facets of the race, not just what happens on-track, but outside track activities, promotions, media.”
Officials preparing for the race said they have doubled the media credentials they issue for a normal race, and they anticipate fans to start coming in as early as Thursday. In addition, some diehard racing fans chose to take advantage of the dual tickets for $99, which are good for this weekend and the coming Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, to take place the weekend of April 25.
For Patterson, it’s an opportunity to market a city he believes is just hitting its stride.
“It’s evident that Leeds has got a lot going on,” the mayor said. “We have a lot of construction with Grand River coming, the five-lane corridor on Rex Lake Road that’s coming. You can tell that Leeds is a city on the move with a bright future.
“I think the three most important things we have that go along with the race are, the city is very convenient, it’s close to everything; we have a lot of new growth that’s coming; and we have a lot of available property.
“The timing is right for people to notice that we have a lot to offer. I’m real excited about a lot of people of that nature coming to the race.”
Gates open for the first time on Friday at 7:30 a.m.