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.
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.
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.
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.
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.