02 Jan Channing Tatum, ‘The Bachelor’ among stars at Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
Race cars won’t be the only stars at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park outside Birmingham.
The race weekend–which includes the fourth race of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar season–takes place April 20-22 and includes all of the biggest names in the racing sport.
And there are plenty of stars both on and off the track.
The Grand Prix’s celebrity grand marshal is movie star and Alabama native Channing Tatum.
Tatum. who hails from Cullman, has starred in such movies in “Magic Mike, “21 Jump Street” and “The Vow,” and is also an avid racing fan.
“I’m honored to be serving as the grand marshal for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama,” Tatum said when first announced as the marshal. “I have always loved the excitement of a great race and it’s a privilege to be back in my home state for this event.”
Tatum will lead the start of the race in a specialty-built two-seat Indy car–known as “Honda’s Fastest Seat in Sports”– driven by racer Arie Luyendyk Jr.
Luyendyk is a celebrity in his own right, as the star of the most recent season of ABC’s “The Bachelor” reality television show.
Luyendyk, who became engaged to Lauren Burnham after a dramatic conclusion to the 2018 season, is the son of of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk and a former driver in the IndyCar and Indy Lights Series.
Another star to be found at the Honda Indy Grand Prix is current IndyCar driver and former “Dancing with the Stars” second-place finisher James Hinchcliffe.
Hinchcliffe, who is currently fifth in this season’s IndyCar standings, was runner-up to former Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez in the 2016 season of the reality dancing competition.
Hinchcliffe is one of the most popular drivers on the circuit, known for his appreciation of the fans and down-to-earth style; his social media presence on his self-created “Hinchtown” makes him especially popular.
Other drivers scheduled to race at Barber are celebrities on the track–drivers like Josef Newgarden, Alexander Rossi, Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay–and will attract plenty of fans.
The most recognizable Indy driver of them all, though, won’t be on the track for the Alabama race.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves–who won the inaugural Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama back in 2010–won’t race at Barber this season. He’s easing into retirement and will race only in the IndyCar Grand Prix on May 12 and the Indianapolis 500 on May 27.
Castroneves participated in an open test at the Barber track in March and said at the time how much he’ll miss racing in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
“It’s hard to come here and know that when the team comes back you won’t be racing,” he said.
Check out all the news from the Honda Indy Grand Prix, and get tickets, at the Barber Motorsports Park’s website.
Cheryl Wray covers local sports for the Alabama Media Group. Follow her on Twitter @cwray_sports and email her at cwray@.