We’re looking back on 2016 through the lenses of IMS photographers. Today, Chris Jones shares his favorites.
MORE BEST OF 2016: Shawn Gritzmacher
Rookie Alexander Rossi heads out to qualify for his first Indy 500. Who would have guessed that a week later he would be pulling into Victory Circle as the winner of the 100th Running?
The biggest story leading up to May was the return of James Hinchliffe after his massive accident the previous year. James proved his recovery was complete when he won the pole for the 100th Indy 500.
As the opening for ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” says, sports feature “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” While Alexander Rossi was celebrating the thrill of victory, Carlos Munoz — with his second “500” runner-up finish in four years — clearly felt the agony of defeat.
Another big story at this year’s Indy 500 was the sellout of the race. In this photo of JR Hilldebrand’s crew in action, you can see a portion of the huge crowd — and some of the results of the Project 100 construction efforts.
My favorite race car of all time is the Marmon Wasp, which Ray Harroun drove to victory in the first Indy 500 in 1911. It was great to see Townsend Bell’s uniform pay tribute to Ray and his inaugural win.
One of the rookies at this year’s Indy 500 was Matthew Brabham, a third-generation racer. Here he is with his car and the car his grandfather, Sir Jack Brabham, drove to a ninth-place finish in the 1961 Indy 500. Sir Jack’s Cooper-Climax was the first rear-engine car in the Indy 500.
A major new event was added to the IMS calendar this year – the Red Bull Air Race. Although its format is much different than an auto race, one tradition from IMS auto races that was embraced by race winner Matthias Dolderer was the kissing of the bricks.
This year was the farewell NASCAR season for Tony Stewart. To honor Tony, IMS built a temporary dirt oval inside of Turn 3. Tony (at left) took some “hot laps” around the track with some other drivers including Bryan Clauson (at right). We didn’t know it at the time, but this would be the last time Bryan would drive at IMS.