2016 marked the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. It was a really huge deal to me, along with basically everyone in attendance. Standing on the grid during the pre-race ceremonies was the most emotional experience I've ever had at a racetrack. I cried. Three times. The whole month had an even more special buzz surrounding it, which is saying something because it's Indy. In the words of Little Al, "You just don't know what Indy means."
Click on the photos to check out the stories behind why they're some of my favorites.
This is probably the sharpest helmet shot I've ever gotten. My fascination with crash helmets started in 2015, because frankly they're works of art, and not just on the outside. They're definitely cosmetically personalized to each driver, but the sheer amount of technology that goes into them to keep a driver safe blows my mind. It's such a personal part of a driver's gear.
Servia is just such a cool guy. He has a freaking mechanical engineering degree! I mean, drivers have to be smart, but that's kind of above and beyond. I love timing stand photos.
This was after a practice session. I love that RHR not only walks back to the garage instead of taking a scooter, but he also carries his gear himself. It's easy to get swept up in the grandiosity of IMS and I appreciate anyone who keeps their feet on the ground in the midst of it all.
In the moments surrounding this shot, Conor was yelling down pit lane to Gabby Chaves, trying to get his attention from the timing stand instead of just walking down there to talk to him. Then some girls behind me yelled his name and he looked around the corner, making my job a little easier. I don't like to do the paparazzi stuff, like yelling to get a driver's attention--it feels canned and kind of icky. But if someone else does it around me and they happen to look my way? Not gonna complain!
Look at it, just sitting there, casually waiting to do it's job. "Don't you worry, Conor, I'm just gonna save your life. You do your thing. No big deal."
I love this photo. It reminds me of a photo I have of his brother Justin from a few years back. He's standing in a similar position, arms crossed, helmet on, by the car in the pit. Not to mention, standing approximately 19 feet tall. Watching Stefan race at Indy for the 100th was just such an emotional rollercoaster and I'm so glad I got to capture some of it through my lens.
Tagliani had a rough month at Indy in 2016, but not for lack of trying. I feel like this shot describes a lot of their month--going out, coming back in, and tweaking things until it feels right.
No one ever takes photos of the photographers! Matt was the first person to ever tell me that he read my blog, and he's a really good photographer himself. It's always good to have someone fun to talk to around the track to swap photobomb-horror-stories with.
I love helmets, and I love watching drivers put them on. It's so ritualistic and you can just feel them getting in the zone.
it makes me so happy to see this guy back in a racecar. After that scary crash at Fontana in 2014, I can't blame him for taking a season away from IndyCar. I love the negative space here, it gives this shot from qualifying a very calm-before-the-storm feel.
Rookies are my fave. Ickle firsties, ready for their first year at Hogwarts! So much potential, so much in store for them, and man will IMS just blow them away. It's an awesome experience and it always makes me happy to watch, especially now that I have my own IMS experiences under my belt.
On the surface racing seems like an individual sport. Only one person in the cockpit. False. It's all a team effort. Sometimes even the smallest things require teamwork, like when you can't see the buckles on your crash helmet and need some help strapping it on.
This shot just cracks me up. Will Power has been racing for over 16 years, and still uses his fingers as earplugs. I hate earplugs too, man. So uncomfortable.
So focused. Also helpful that there is ear protection built in to the headsock.
Fun fact: among the family photos on displayed in her house, my mother proudly displays an autographed photo of Will Power in his car at Milwaukee that I got signed for her and gave her for Christmas. Front and center, flanked by photos of her daughters, her flesh and blood, is Will Power, IndyCar champion. But that photo is old, taken before two years of growth and improvement. I like this one a lot better. Much sharper, and tells a much clearer story of the intensity of qualifying at Indy.