Posts Tagged ‘ Indianapolis Motor Speedway ’

Flames, food and high-end cocktail party fashion filled Pagoda Plaza on May 9 along with more than 1,500 who attended the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s inaugural Rev soiree.

The party, which continued late into the night, offered guests tastes of Verizon IndyCar Series drivers’ favorite foods re-imagined by more than 40 Indianapolis-area chefs. Revelers snapped photos of the racers and were offered hors d’oeuvres-sized dishes, including  prosciutto goat cheese bruschetta created by Bluebeard, Indianapolis, made for Charlie Kimball, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. Board Chairman Mari Hulman George’s jalapeno cornbread  and French canapés created by McFarling Foods, Indianapolis, in honor of Sebastien Bourdais.

Two celebrity chefs – Vic Vegas, a self-trained chef who appeared on “The Next Food Network Star” and Spike Mendelsohn, who was a runner-up on “Top Chef” – came to town for the event.

The pair of restaurateurs dined at Indianapolis’ famous St. Elmo Steak House, took rides in a two-seat Indy car and toured the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before Rev.

“Spark the flame,” was the party’s theme, so its décor came in red, orange and chrome. Contemporary torches burned outside. Hoosier rocker Jon McLaughlin entertained, as did locals Endless Summer and DJ Lockstar, Blair Clark and Chad Mills. Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon and his wife, Emma, served as the event’s honorary chairs.

Plans are already in the works to bring the party back next year.

“It was one of the best events I’ve attended,” said Bronte Tagliani (wife of Verizon IndyCar driver Alex Tagliani), who wore a shimmering blue and green mini dress to the event. “Everything I expected for the food, the fashion and the music was far above and beyond.”

Bronte Tagliani, left, said the Rev party was a great kick-start to the Month of May.

The  Methodist Health Foundation event that benefited IU Health Statewide Trauma programs, including medical services for the drivers and patrons of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, was planned to kick off the month of May at IMS with a new party. It celebrated Saturday’s inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25 and all of the IndyCar pageantry that happens here annually.

“It is exactly what this series needs to kick off the month of May,” said Tagliani.

Megan Krisiloff (wife of IMS Senior Director of Marketing Jarrod Krisiloff) looked to be having a great time in a cream Zara midi top and matching pencil skirt and carrying a checked Kate Spade bag with silver closure shaped like a vintage Indy car.

“It’s a nice new event,” she said. “It brings the Indianapolis community out.”

It’s unofficial, but Verizon IndyCar Series fashion week is in full swing in Indianapolis as drivers prepare for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

Alex Tagliani’s wife, Bronte, is writing about track style in her blog, bellennoir.com.  And on May 6 she organized a fashion shoot with drivers, 500 Festival princesses and Fox 59’s Sherman Burdette at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

They all looked to be having a great time as Tagliani checked styles and, in the case of IndyCar driver Martin Plowman, carefully rolled and cuffed a sleeve or two.

Driver Sage Karam, who made waves this week when he announced plans to field a car for the Indianapolis 500 with country music star Brantley Gilbert’s face on it, participated, too.

“Events like these are fun because it kind of takes the stress and all the pressure off of the racing,” said Karam, who added that he had a lot of fun wearing a pair of fur boxer shorts in an Indy 500 fashion show two years ago.

Speed style: Verizon IndyCar Series driver Simon Pagenaud and girlfriend Hailey McDermott.

Later in the day, driver Simon Pagenaud and his girlfriend, Hailey McDermott, were the guests of honor at a Raleigh Limited cocktail party. The men’s clothier — with the help of the European line, Sand — is providing  Pagenaud with off-track clothes this month in Indianapolis. To celebrate, Raleigh Limited invited a few customers, served a few cocktails and an IndyCar was parked in front of the store, causing a buzz.

Pagenaud arrived in an elegant, tapered Sand suit, a pair of Donald J. Pliner shoes but no tie.

“I don’t wear a tie, no. You know why, because my dad  (who owns a supermarket in France) wear ties every day,” said Pagenaud.

As for the rest of his look, Pagenaud was pleased.

“I like dressing well because it gives me confidence. I feel stronger and I feel happy,” he said. “Sand gave me this opportunity and I shop here in Indianapolis and we connected together. They are interested in my image and I am interested in their clothes and the look they have. That’s what we connected.”

Pagenaud prefers tapered, elegant pieces, so Sand is a good choice, said Gerard Moreau, Raleigh’s manager and buyer.

“It’s a very updated but elegant style,” said Moreau. “Everything (race car drivers) do is at a fast pace and everything they wear is going to show that type of personality.”

Right is all right at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week.

Screaming around right-hand turns in a Verizon IndyCar Series car is a new thing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s new to racers because, until this year, turning right in competition on the track’s iconic oval meant bad news. You’d probably wrecked.

But, beginning this month, it’s all right to make rights. Required, actually.  There are nine rights and five lefts in every one of the 82 laps of the  inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 10.

Wanting to see what that’s like at 200ish miles an hour, I put on a firesuit and took a ride in an Indy Racing Experience two-seater with former Indianapolis 500 competitor and Verizon IndyCar Series team co-owner Davey Hamilton behind the wheel. In 2013, my trip around the IMS oval with Mario Andretti at the wheel left me comparing the experience to seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. So, I wanted to see how the road course ride compared to racing’s equivalent of one of the seven wonders of the world.

Since road racing is supposed to be a bit more genteel than oval racing, thoughts of a fancy hat entered my mind. But only fleetingly, as a helmet was buckled on. A helmet that I was immediately grateful for when Hamilton hit the pedal and we screamed onto the front straight of the IMS oval, going clockwise , the opposite way the cars travel in the Indianapolis 500.

In seconds, the Pagoda flew by on my right. Weird.

And it got increasingly weirder as we screeched around Turn 1, then 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 at mind-numbing  speeds. While I felt pinned to the seat on the oval with Andretti, I felt like I was in a wilder-than-any-amusement-park ride over the 2.493-mile lap I took twice with Hamilton. I shifted right. Then left. Then repeated, over and over, until I’d been around. And around again.

By the time Hamilton hit the brakes, and I was helped out of the car (something I desperately needed given the G forces that were still resonating through my body) , I couldn’t wait to watch the Grand Prix. How anyone, let alone 25 someones, can go 82 laps (200 miles) on that twisting, turning course and have any wits lets left at the end is a mystery to me. Add in a bunch of other drivers on the same roadway racing to win and it seems impossible.

But that’s what professional athletes do. They perform 360-degree slam dunks on basketball courts with grace, return kickoffs for touchdowns and, apparently, negotiate crazy turns at 200 miles an hour in IndyCars while racing other IndyCars. And they love it.

Me? Not so much.

I think I’m going to try and slip on that fancy hat and spend time on a spectator mound. While I do, though, I’ll know that right is right for IndyCars at IMS.

If you’ve eaten at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Staples Center in Los Angeles, Churchill Downs in Louisville and a lot of other arenas and ballparks in between, you’ve already had dishes created by the chefs of Levy Restaurants.

That’s because, Levy, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s newest food provider, has been feeding hungry — and discerning — sports fans for years. But the Chicago-based company, which has been operating since 1978, isn’t interested only in filling stomachs. Its chefs try to make trips to concession stands culinary experiences rather than a simple stops for hotdogs and fries.

At IMS this year, race fans can choose from a menu that includes a barbecue brisket dog  (smoked brisket, fried onions and spicy barbecue sauce over a hot dog),  garlic Parmesan fries  and Indiana sweet corn (covered in spicy chili mayo and grated Parmesan cheese with a lime on the side). There are signature cocktail options, too, and even breakfast: salsa verde, sweet potato hash and cilantro queso fresco topped with a fried egg. (Yes, all of those ingredients are in one dish.)

“It’s nice and filling and gets your day started,” said Jason McGraw, executive chef with Levy. “It’s a whole other experience and it’s great raceway fare.”

McGraw was offering taste tests of the new concessions at IMS on Wednesday.

Ingredients for the new menu, which also includes fancy versions of burgers and tenderloins, come from local producers, said McGraw.

“The Indianapolis Motor Speedway likes to be part of the community,” he said.

Other inspiration for the dishes is the iconic nature of the track.

“This is a very prestigious sporting venue with a very rich history,” said McGraw. “We wanted to take…track food and make it more of a high end championship racing food. So we’ve taken some standard fare and given it new twists. We’ve taken some old favorites and and kicked them up a notch. And then we’ve  just flat out thrown the rules out the window for some new things.”

Bronte Tagliani is comfortable in front of a camera. A professional model, she’s been photographed in swimsuits, pantsuits and more for magazines, websites and newspapers.

Bronte Tagliani

But Bronte – the wife of Verizon IndyCar Series driver Alex – will be the one pointing the lens when the busy month of May begins at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As Alex prepares for a run in the Indianapolis 500 on Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s team, Bronte will be walking around the track, collecting snaps for a fashion blog, BellenNoir.com (which means “beautiful in black” in French). She’ll document what she wears while Alex races and at Indy 500 parties and appearances, too.

She also plans to include the paddock’s other style mavens, so expect shots of Scott Dixon’s wife, Emma, James Hinchcliffe’s girlfriend, Kirsten Dee, and Charlie Kimball’s fiancée, Kathleen Thompson. And photos and commentary on anyone around IMS whose look catches her eye also will be included, she said.

“It’s just another social media outlet for me. I love Instagram and I love Twitter,” said Bronte. “It’s going to be a more expanded Instagram, more like a story in pictures. I don’t know where it’s going to take me.”

The site launches from Indianapolis in May, but Bronte, who is Australian, plans to update it as she travels.

“I just want to highlight street style – what people are wearing, what I’m wearing and the cool things I’m seeing,” she said. “The Speedway is going to be a great place to get pictures.”

Although she says she doesn’t have expected results for the project, anyone who knows Bronte knows to expect the unexpected.  Even in her own look.

Bronte Tagliani's new blog will feature street fashion from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May.

Racing fans who have seen hundreds of photos of Bronte will immediately recognize her, or most of her, when they visit BellenNoir.com.

One thing is different. She recently traded her long-time short brunette hairdo for a bleached blonde look. The reason: She wanted to know what it’s like to be blonde, so she’s giving it a try.

Inside Shot – Indy 500

Posted on: June 6, 2011 | Comments (1) | Flickr, Indy 500 | By: Chris Jones

In previous Inside Shot entries I have discussed one image from an IndyCar race that was featured in the indycar.com galleries or the IndyCar Flickr site.  For the Indy 500, it is difficult to single out one image.

For most IndyCar race weekends, the activities take place over 2 or 3 days.  For the Indy 500, activities started on May 7 with the Mini-Marathon and weather-postponed Balloon Race, and ended on the evening of May 30th at the Victory Celebration banquet.  During that period, I shot at the track 20 days and took over 9,600 images.  For comparison, at Long Beach where both IndyCar and Indy Lights were in action, I shot around 2,300 images.

You may wonder why we spent so much time at the track given there were only 10 practice and qualifying days.  At Indy, there are so many other activities we covered including the Celebration of Automobiles, the American Dairy Association Rookie Luncheon, celebrity two-seater rides, Emerging Tech day, the unveiling of the Marmon Wasp postage stamp, Community Day, and Rookie Orientation.

My favorite images are those that tell a story.  Although these may not qualify as the “best” photos during the month, they are photos that help tell my favorite stories from the month.

04CJ6312

One of the top stories of the month was the hardship that Simona de Silvestro faced after her accident.  It was obvious her hands were still hurting watching her get in the car after her incident.  She didn’t let the pain stop her from signing autographs even though everyone would have understood if she said she needed to let her hands rest.

04CJ4444

J.R. Hildebrand had a great month – fastest Rookie in the field, first day qualifier, race runner-up and Chase Rookie of the Year.  Unfortunately for him, he would have been the race winner if not for his final lap incident in turn 4.  Similar to Simona, the way he reacted to his adversity showed his class and character.

04CJ3812

To me, one of the big stories that got overlooked throughout the month was the success of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team, especially Bertrand Baguette.  Here was a team that hadn’t raced this season, with two drivers that hadn’t raced in IndyCar this season either, and only one previous Indy 500 start between the two drivers.  Both Baguette and Jay Howard were first-day qualifiers, and Baguette was one late caution period away from winning the race.

04CJ0929

Of course, the big story was Dan Wheldon’s win in a one-off ride with Bryan Herta Autosport.  According to Indianapolis Motor Speedway Historian Donald Davidson, Wheldon is the first winning driver at the Indy 500 to lead only one lap, and he probably led less than a quarter of a mile.  It was great to see the pure emotion he expressed after his win.  He should continue to be a great ambassador for the Indy 500.

Next up is Texas Motor Speedway.

A Second Glance at May

Posted on: June 3, 2011 | Comments(8) | Indy 500 | By: Cassie

This May was my second with IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I am an intern for the media department where we handle Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and blog posts. I spent a lot of the month captioning the many photos that are taken each day. I decided to choose some of my favorites from the month and pay a personal tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500.

Dan Wheldon takes the win

The only thing this photo is missing are the dropped jaws, the wide eyes and the shocked gasps coming from the crowd at the end of this year’s Indy 500 when rookie J.R. Hildebrand crashed while leading the final lap. The photo definitely depicts the controversy that came from the ending. The checkered and yellow flag are out as Dan Wheldon crosses the finish line, but Dan played fair and successfully grabbed his second Indy 500 title. Definitely a twist of fate that made for a memorable ending to a historical race.

Simona De Silvestro signs an autograph

How could I not choose a picture of Simona de Silvestro? Tough is the only word you can use to describe her. There is no way you could have watched the horrifying wreck she was involved in, watch her successfully qualify, and watch her finish the race and not have the most respect in the world for her. I’m not sure we even heard a complaint come from her lips. Being sure not to let down her fans, she continued to sign autographs throughout the rest of the month. Simona, you’re my girl!

Sam Schmidt and Alex Tagliani

There is no way to look at the picture above and not feel the emotion Sam Schmidt and Alex Tagliani must have experienced in this moment. After Tagliani grabbed the pole, he couldn’t thank Schmidt enough. You have to love and respect Sam Schmidt for all he’s overcome, and congratulate him because this was his first Indy 500 pole. It was great to see their effort and teamwork pay off.

Dario shakes the hand of Roger Penske

Any picture that includes a member of Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske is a great one to me. It’s so easy to create the thought that there is a rivalry there, but this picture goes to show that isn’t quite the case. If you ask me, every IndyCar fan is either a Ganassi fan or a Penske fan. You can’t like both, but you can probably hate both out of jealousy for the numerous success stories both teams have. Dario shaking Roger Penske’s hand in this picture shows the camaraderie that exists between Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske. One of my all time favorites for sure!

A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Mario Andretti

I chose this picture and put it last in order for a reason. This year was the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500. This picture includes IndyCar legends and embodies the whole history of the race and the series. A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Mario Andretti, and Johnny Rutherford – all legends of the Indy 500 and the IndyCar sport. This picture is everything that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway wanted to accomplish during the 100th anniversary – a celebration of the history of those who have made the Indy 500 the “greatest spectacle in racing” and kept it there for 100 years and counting.

To see more pictures from May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway check out IndyCar Flickr.

The Indianapolis 500 is a very, very long race event for us. It’s two weeks of content. And for the new media group, it’s overseeing both indycar.com and indianapolismotorspeedway.com. Most of our race events run from Thursday-Sunday, with indycar.com being the focus. Two weeks of racing is exciting, exhausting and a challenge. I love content, good storytelling and beautiful photography. Our May provided all of that. Some highlights.

Opening weekend brought the announcement of The Greatest 33. It was an honor working on this site and it was amazing to see how many fans voted, shared with friends and revealed their own personal memories.

The Greatest 33

The Greatest 33

4,028. That’s how many photographs were uploaded. It’s how our department sees what our photographers capture. We then title, caption and tag these images for our websites, media site, Flickr and so on. That’s a lot of images and it’s tedious work. BUT – it allows us to bring some really stunning moments to you (and shows what a great group of photographers we work with). A few of my favorite below. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Simona De Silvestro signs an autograph

One of the most compelling stories of the month

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This month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been packed to the brink with IZOD IndyCar Series drivers, Firestone Indy Lights drivers, Mazda Road to Indy drivers, and returning Indy 500 legends. It had us thinking, what advice do the younger drivers ask the returning and former drivers for when preparing to race.

As the first African American to qualify and race in the Indianapolis 500, Willy T. Ribbs has helped paved the way for a diverse crop of younger drivers to reach their dream of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In his interview, Willy shared which drivers gave him advice back in 1991:

Firestone Indy Lights driver, Chase Austin shares his relationship with Willy T. Ribbs and talks about what it’s like to go from stock cars to Indy cars and still be successful at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Before today, the driver had only slipped in two practice laps at the track. Find out what his game plan is to run well in today’s Firestone Freedom 100:

Earlier this week we rolled out 25 QR Codes around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as well as introduced a new version of the Verizon IndyCar Mobile Application. We’re thinking digitally, while we celebrate the Centennial running of the Indianapolis 500. History meets technology.

If you don’t have the app on your Verizon phone, check it out here (as well as for compatible devices).

If you’re at IMS for Carb day or through the weekend, you can access 25 of our QR Codes around the Pagoda, Yard of Bricks and Gasoline Alley. These codes will bring you closer to the racing action, drivers from the IZOD IndyCar Series and reveal some of the behind-the-scenes information of our Series. All you need is a Verizon phone with QR Code reading software and you’ll have instant access to exclusive videos – and even a chance to win a trip to the IndyCar World Championships in Las Vegas. Cool.

QR Code Will

QR code Will

Both the app and QR Codes provide a closer connection to our sport and features content that highlights the diversity of IndyCar. We hope you enjoy and would love to hear what you think.