Posts Tagged ‘ Indianapolis Motor Speedway ’

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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(6) | 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.

Having the Indianapolis Fire Department represented on the car of Jay Howard will only make this year’s race more personal to the people of Indy. To show his support in an even deeper way, Howard took time out of his busy May schedule to visit with patients at the Richard M. Fairbanks Burn Center at Wishard Hospital yesterday morning. He was joined by members of the IFC including Fire Chief Brian Sanford and Chris Major the president of the Indianapolis Professional Firefighters Local 416. Howard took some time to visit with the firefighters before making his way into the burn center. “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway makes Indy what it is and we are very lucky to get the chance to be associated with IMS, ” said Sanford.

Chris Major talked about the positive affects of the crest being placed on Jay’s car. “It’s a great way to make people aware of the efforts we make,” said Major. Stanford addressed Simona de Silvestro’s crash earlier this May. “It shows how far of a reach a burn center can make. It doesn’t only deal with house fires and accidental burns.”

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Once inside, Howard took time to visit with patients of the Wishard Burn Center. He signed autographs, took pictures, and chatted with some very excited patients. One lady kept telling Jay that he had made her day. She was given one of the Jay Howard/Indianapolis Fire Department shirts and Jay signed it for her.

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Howard was then given a tour of the burn unit. He learned that around 550 patients are treated at the burn center every year. Also, there are 7 other burn units in the U.S. modeled around the Richard M. Fairbanks Burn Center at Wishard Hospital. It was also shared with Jay that the staff of the burn center makes regular trips to Central America for mission trips. They have built the only burn center in Central America. Each trip costs around $30,000-50,000 and the burn center staff raises all the funds themselves. They are currently preparing for their 5th trip to El Salvador with a staff of 22 people.

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Howard is driving in this year’s Indy 500 to support burn victims. If you would like to show your support you can purchase the shirt Jay is wearing in the pictures above. For more information on the t-shirts and helping out the Wishard Burn Center follow this link: http://www.n-depthfiregraphics.com/jayhoin500sh.html

The month of May is known to be the most hectic month for the IZOD IndyCar stars, but it’s just as crazy for the helmet painters, in particular at the ArtRotondo.com shop, when you paint for many of the Indycar drivers. The month of May is an incredibly hectic month but that all comes to one big reward on that historical race day. This year being the centennial year, it is a tremendous honor for us to be part of this great race, alongside so many of this Series finest drivers. We’re truly living a childhood dream by being involved in this great race and hope that one of our drivers will be the first to cross the finish line on this coming May 29th, 2011.

This year’s Indy 500 will not only mark the 100th anniversary of the great American race, but it will also mark the heroic return of IndyCar star Mike Conway. He will return on board his Andretti Autosport IndyCar to face the track which prematurely took him out of his 2010 season. For this tremendous event we had no choice but to make a special Indy 500 themed helmet for his triumphant return, we put the complete focus on the speedway’s landmark tower and hope it will bring him that extra edge in this grueling 500 mile dash.

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Mike Conway's new helmet

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Ho-Pin Tung: History in the Making

Posted on: May 16, 2011 | Comments(2) | Drivers | By: Cassie

Ho-Pin Tung has raced numerous cars in numerous countries, but he has finally made his way to IndyCar. What’s more, he’s on his way to making history. He has become the first Chinese racer to enter the Indy 500, and is hoping to be the first Chinese driver to qualify for the race.

Tung is driving for Schmidt Dragon Racing for this year’s Indy 500 and sees this race as a huge learning experience.  Drivers such as Arie Luyendyk and Al Unser Jr have inspired and motivated Tung to meet his Indy goals this May. So come out to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and cheer Ho-Pin Tung to his goal of being the first Chinese man to qualify for the Indy 500.

Watch the interview below and listen to everything Ho-Pin Tung has to say about his racing career, IndyCar, and the experience of racing in the Indy 500.

What is your prediction for Ho-Pin Tung’s performance in the Indy 500 this season?

Hunter-Reay revels in Indy history

Posted on: May 16, 2011 | Comments (1) | Drivers | By: Arni

Ryan Hunter-Reay hopes to race in his fourth Indianapolis 500 later this month, but he took advantage of the rainout of practice May 15 to visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum for the first time.

Ryan Hunter-Reay with gallery of winners.

“I can’t believe I hadn’t been there,” said Hunter-Reay, the 2008 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year. “It was amazing. The place is what Indy car racing is all about, and that’s what makes Indy car racing special. To go there as a current Indy car driver made it even more special. To see the cars that were driven by owners of team’s I’ve driven for and the ones driven by my heroes and know they all went to Victory Lane here at Indy made for a very special day.”

The one car that that the Andretti Autosport driver wanted to see was Rick Mears’ 1984-winning Pennzoil Z-7 Special. Hunter-Reay’s first go-kart was modeled after Mears’ race car and seeing the real car for the first time brought back childhood memories for the IZOD IndyCar Series standout.

“The No. 6 Pennzoil car, in smaller form, was my first ride,” he said. “That’s what I got into a lot of trouble in. It was my neighborhood wheels and I did my first right front wing damage in that car when I hit a stop sign.

“It was really cool to see the actual car. I’ve never seen it before, but to see the evolution of the Indy car was really neat to see. To see where the sport actually started and how the cars have developed over the years, and see what made these cars go faster and faster. Indianapolis has always been a proving ground as much as it is a huge race.”

Hunter-Reay was far from the only driver in the Museum. 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones and Dreyer & Reinbold’s  Justin Wilson were visitors to the exhibit of 67-winning Indianapolis 500 winning cars.

And while Hunter-Reay told all the well-wishers in the Museum his plan was to have his Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car join the winning cars in the Museum next year, he hopes to get another visit to see the cars on display again.

“I’m going to go back again before I leave this month,” Hunter-Reay said.

@, #hashtag, RT, FF

Posted on: May 14, 2011 | Comments (1) | Drivers, Fans, New Media | By: Daniel

It’s an odd post title, but it’s a fitting one for a discussion on Twitter. Twitter has hit it’s stride this season with more and more teams, drivers, journalists and sponsors joining the online dialogue. The most pleasant surprise are the amount of driver’s genuinely using Twitter to reveal their personalities. A video interview in pit lane isn’t always the best way to know someone. 140 characters in a tweet on the other hand…

TK Tweet

TK ready for Indy

Twitter is obviously on the rise. It’s a social tool that people are finally understanding and utilizing. IndyCar blogger, @pressdog wrote a four-part series earlier this year, illustrating it’s growing importance within the sport. Followers of @IndyCar have grown over 300% in just over a year. It’s become a more accepted method of communication and we use it to share race updates, official results, news stories, videos, Flickr images, blog posts and lots more.  There are now multiple voices around the INDYCAR experience. We are listening.

Yesterday, we interviewed James Hinchcliffe (video below). It got me thinking about driver’s that are web savvy. I remember watching Hinch last season and being impressed by his personal online strategy. His site, videos, and use of Twitter were exceptional. He was ahead of the game. And now, the game has caught up with him and embraced the web community. In my opinion, it’s the most important way we (and I mean ‘we’) can help grow the INDYCAR brand. We all have a voice to help grow this sport.

There have been lots of memorable Twitter moments recently. These are bringing the online world into the at-track world. They are bringing together the personalities of the sport into a new environment. They are giving our faithful, loyal fans new ways of connecting to the speed and racing action. Twitter is removing traditional walls. Some quick examples -

Tomas Scheckter’s blog post last December got some real chatter online and then on Twitter.

Most races are followed by some interesting driver banter – all before our Twitter eyes.

Today, Scott Dixon gave away a watch to one lucky fan. All of this was done through Twitter!

Scott Dixon & a deserving fan

Tweet with drivers and you could win!

And a current contest from Ryan Briscoe: “Who wants to win a trip and be my guest at this years Indy500? Guess my qual speed to win! Go to www.ryanbriscoe.com for details”.

For fans, I can’t think of a better way to follow the sport or a favorite driver. You can tweet directly at them and there will be a lot of chatter this month of May. What are you waiting for?

So – we’ve created a full listing of IZOD IndyCar Series drivers on Twitter for you HERE.

Check them out, follow their tweets, join the conversation and as always, let us know what you think.

You can follow @IndyCar, here.