With Halloween around the corner, many people are thinking about their Halloween costume for this year. Some are even making suggestions for their favorite athletes and celebrities. What costumes do you suggest for the stars of the IZOD IndyCar series?
To help you with your suggestions, we have some never-before seen photos of many of the drivers from Halloween 2004. In 2004, the year-end IndyCar Championship Celebration was held on a 3-day Disney Cruise. The cruise ship was still at sea on Halloween night, the day after Tony Kanaan and his Andretti-Green Racing team celebrated their season championship. For the on-board Halloween party, most of the drivers and team owners were in costume.
The stars of the party were series champion Tony Kanaan and his AGR teammates (Dario Franchitti, Dan Wheldon, and Bryan Herta) who all dressed up as women. Here they are along with 2-time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk who was dressed as Hugh Heffner.
Dan Wheldon, Arie Luyendyk, Tony Kanaan, Bryan Herta, Dario Franchitti
Team owner Sam Schmidt got in the spirit with his Crash Test Dummy costume.
Team owner Michael Andretti was Batman, the Dark Knight. Here he is along with Arie and Arie Jr.
Arie Luyendyk, Arie Luyendyk Jr., Michael Andretti
One of the more creative costumes was 2-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr. who was dressed as Beetlejuice from the Tim Burton movie.
Al Unser Jr.
The drivers weren’t the only ones to dress up. Here is Ed Carpenter as Joe Dirt along with his wife Heather.
And here is 1999 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Robby McGehee who was placed under arrest by his wife Norma.
Now that you have seen this crazy and fun side of your favorite drivers, what other costumes would you recommend for them?
Don’t ever let anyone tell you working at IMS isn’t a dream come true. Sure, as with any job, it has its moments. There are times where you feel tested, frustrated, tired, lost and burned out. But then, without any warning, a single incredible moment happens. A moment when you look back and realize, “Wow … THAT just happened.” A moment when you realize that you not only were you a witness to history but you actively participated in it. That moment happened for me this year about 10 a.m. Monday, May 28.
In the wake of the retirement of legendary IMS Director of Photography Ron McQueeney, I inherited a few of the responsibilities of the photo department. While I certainly don’t claim to “run the photo department” or claim I’m talented enough to call myself the “head photographer,” I get the pleasure of organizing several of our shoots here at the facility. One specific shoot is arguably the most important every year. It’s often referred to as “THE DAY AFTER,” the shoot with the Indianapolis 500 winner the morning after the race.
I arrived at the track at about 7 a.m. that morning. Although I didn’t tell anyone, I was nervous about this one. I’d made it through another month of May, 33 qualifying photos, and two victory circle photo shoots. I had one task left, the winner’s shoot on the Yard of Bricks.
I headed out to the Yard of Bricks early to get a feel for what needed to be done. About that time, I looked down pit lane as the No. 50 Target Dallara/Honda of Dario Franchitti was being rolled out from Gasoline Alley and was heading north toward the start-finish line. The crew positioned the car perfectly along the bricks. The waiting game began. Photographers started to stroll in, and I did my best to make sure that everyone had a spot to get a great shot.
Dario was working his way through his string of media hits with assorted morning shows across the country while the rest of us were readying for a smooth morning.
After about an hour, Dario walked down from the media center and to the Yard of Bricks. He climbed into the car and positioned himself perfectly. He’s a three-time winner; he knows the drill. The dance began. “Dario wear this hat” … “Now look here” … “Next hat” … “Crew members, you’re in this shot” … “Family members only in this one.” Before you knew it, we’d gone through every sponsor shot, team shot, family shot and several others.
It wasn’t until after everything was over, Dario had left the track and I was sorting through photos before I realized something.
I was flipping through all of the various shots when I stumbled upon this shot of me handing Dario a hat.
Those of us that work in the motorsports industry — and professional sports, in general — strive to be professional at all times. Part of that attitude is keeping our “fan” urges in check. It’s a pretty common circumstance in May to sit or stand next to a well-known celebrity or a four-time Indianapolis 500 winner. So you need to act like it is an everyday occurrence. At the time this photo was taken, no part of me thought, “Man, this is Dario Franchitti, three-time Indianapolis 500 champion!” I was more likely thinking: “Man, it’s hot out here … what’s the next hat? Is the next group ready for their shot? How much time do we have left?”
I should provide a little background information to help you all understand why this photo is important to me. I am a fan. There, I said it. I grew up loving this sport. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to be a part of, and Dario Franchitti has been my favorite driver since I was a kid. I’m truly blessed to be able to call the Indianapolis Motor Speedway my employer, and this photo made me realize something. In the rush that is May and in our efforts to remain professional at all times, we occasionally let these once-in-a-lifetime moments escape without noticing. We let these moments of history in which we’re actively participating slide by without record.
I was lucky enough to have a photographer snag this shot for me, and I’m forever grateful. The photo and experience also made me realize that our extremely vocal fans always tell us about their favorite moment at IMS or what the facility means to them, but we rarely explain to them what it means to those of us that are here every day and get up close and personal with the history. I’ve been to the Indianapolis 500 so many times I’ve nearly lost count, but I get chills every single year. Every race morning when I drive through the tunnel into a dark and virtually empty IMS I still get the nervous energy I did before my first “500.”
It’s easy for those of us that work here to fall into a routine. But IMS has a way of reminding you that just when you think you’ve seen it all and done it all, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
In what is approaching a 40 year career at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I have seen a lot of snow from my 2nd floor office in the Hall of Fame Museum. In November of 1977, my 1st year as Director of Photography the snow came early that season and I was ready to go out and get cold and wet. Early in the morning the day after the 12+ inch snowfall, I trekked to the top of the B Grandstands for my 1st “IMS in snow” scene. The day was bright and clear and the temperature was well below zero with a brisk wind blowing in from the north. Much to my dismay, a car had already been on the track and the scene was not “perfect.” Of course I shot it anyway and after processing the film (remember film?), I became aware that the tracks in the snow showed the depth and the photo was not a loss after all. That became one of the all-time great sellers in the IMS Photo Shop, especially during a hot summer.
1977 Snow at the Track
In early 1983, a PR contact from the STP Corporation saw that we had a heavy snowfall and called the Patrick Racing shop and asked them to deliver the 1982 winning car of Gordon Johncock to me at the Speedway for a photo. The car was delivered by noon and again, out in the snow I went. We positioned the car in front of the Control Tower.
At the last moment, I asked one of the mechanics to throw Gordy’s helmet on and jump in the car. THE SHOT WENT AROUND THE WORLD thanks to the STP PR machine!
1982 Indy 500 winning car of Gordon Johncock Snow Shoot
In 2008, one of my employees wanted to duplicate the shot with another car. We went to the IMS Storage area and looked for an easy, modern era car to shoot in the 13 inches of show that had fallen the previous night. We couldn’t find a “politically correct” car ( one with proper sponsorship for a Christmas card) that would be easy to get out of the museum. I called the Indy Racing Experience and arranged a “Show Car” with IndyCar logos. As a joke, I requested the museum bring the 1911 Marmon Wasp out for a quick photo…….just wanting to get a “Sure, we will bring the most important race car in our collection out in the snow today….ARE YOU CRAZY????, reaction. As I was setting up the “Show Car”, my cell phone rang and Ellen Bireley, Hall of Fame Museum Director said the Wasp was “on it’s way to me”. To my surprise, the car was on the way and a great photo session was complete.
The Marmon Wasp Snow Shoot
Santa’s recent visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was another one of those “let’s play in the snow” days. Santa (the REAL one) was coming to IMS thanks to Macy’s and he would be practicing for the Christmas Eve altitude by going up on the top of the Pagoda with 2 of his elves, Holly Berry and Peppermint. Camera in hand, off I go in 0 wind chill and 8+ inches of snow on the track to document the proceedings. After the Altitude test, Santa and company decided to “Kiss the Bricks”, the famous IMS tradition. Concern about lips freezing to the surface of the bricks was voiced but no worries for Santa…. Mission accomplished! So, if you notice a little more red in Santa’s cheeks (and especially his lips), you’ll know the whole story!…..
After a visit to the Museum to greet several children, off he went to get ready for the Christmas Eve trip around the world.
Ron McQueeney is the Director of Photographer at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Below McQueeney highlights his favorite photos from a recent venture to the Firestone 550K Race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Kaptain Robbie Knievel “Above the Law” Motorcycle Jump
With the heat of Indy and Texas behind us, let’s take a look at some of the fun things that I shot. The Kaptain Robbie Knievel “Above the Law” Motorcycle jump is the second time I have been to one of his events there. The first time I was in the flag stand. While I was very close to the action, the background was not very interesting.
With a few more days before the race, it is time to start thinking about the big day. My photo staff consists of my 4 Indy Car Series travel team and myself and more than 30 other photographers who come back year after year. I assign them to specific areas of the track to do the various assignments we are asked to shoot on race day. While most people think we concentrate on the cars and drivers, there are more elements of the event that we have assignments for. 2010 we will be shooting things like the people coming in the gates early in the morning, the celebrities arriving and the fans early morning activities such as tailgating, partying and having fun all around the Speedway grounds. Morning festivities also include the suites and grandstands as people arrive and the Corporate parties.
It's grilling time!
Pre-race activities are always colorful and we have several of our photographers concentrating on that element. During the race, while several are shooting in turns and in the pit area, others will be roaming the infield looking for the fans partying and having fun, picnicking and watching the event.
Partying at the Indy 500
When the race is over, as people funnel out of the infield and grandstands, we will be shooting the mass exit, the awards regarding the race and the trash left behind all over the grounds. Long after the people are gone, we will be uploading and filing photos for their use on the IMS and Indy Car websites and for Media around the world.
While most of the photo we take are shots we are assigned by the various entities we work for within the company, sometimes we are able to be creative and set up shots and other times we “stumble” into a scene that lends itself to shot that tells a story. AT the 2002 Indy Car event at Nashville Superspeedway, AJ Foyt Racing’s Billy Boat had just won the pole for the event and we completed the photo shoot in Victory Circle with Boat and the team. As we headed back to the Press Room with the Pole Winner, I was walking beside him and someone yelled his name. As he turned to the fan (and me), I snapped the photo of him and in the background was the scoring pylon with his car number and speed at the top in lights. An impromptu shot turned into a memorable shot in a long career.