The 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race is now in the record books. After 800 grueling left-hand turns on the famous oval, only one – Juan Pablo Montoya – got to experience that final, left hand, 180-degree turn from pit lane into Victory Circle at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
On Sunday, I witnessed the 801st turn from my seat in the Pagoda, approximately 20 feet above the race winner. To say I was on top of the scene is an understatement.
Admittedly, my photography skills aren’t to the level of the consummate professionals with IMS Photo, but with some free guidance to me and a little practice, I hope I’m starting to get better. This moment I captured about 3 seconds before Victory Circle resonates with me. Steering wheel at 90-degrees to the left – “Turn 801”. Battle scars after 500 miles with rubber, oil, grease, chipped paint, debris, etc. Some fans don’t realize just how visually dirty (re: destroyed) an IndyCar gets after a race, or after any track session.
But, if you get to make that magical 801st left turn at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway … it doesn’t matter, and it never will.
Congratulations, Juan Pablo! A very worthy champion of the 99th Indianapolis 500!