Taylor Hicks, the 2006 “American Idol” winner, received an up-close and (maybe too) personal view of the 2.38-mile, 17-turn Barber Motorsports Park circuit in the front seat of a Honda Accord Pace Car courtesy of Firestone Indy Lights driver and Pace Car Team member James Hinchcliffe.
Hicks, a Birmingham, Ala., native, sang the national anthem before the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by Legacy Credit Union.
“I’ve never been to an IndyCar race and this is the first IndyCar race for a lot of people in the state of Alabama,” said Hicks, who is on tour in “Grease.” “To be able to get out on this course and see what the IndyCars do, you feel like you’re really there and feeling the turns. (Hinchcliffe) did a great job and I had a great time.”
Hinchcliffe appreciated the compliment.
“I may have turned the notch up just a bit in some of the turns,” he said. “I like to think we give everybody pretty good rides, and it’s cool to be here in Alabama and give him a taste of an IndyCar race. I’m pretty sure IndyCar has a fan for life now in Taylor Hicks.”