Indianapolis Motor Speedway staff photographer Chris Owens shares his favorite images of the year from IMS and the Verizon IndyCar Series circuit.
I’ve always felt there aren’t enough hours of daylight before the Indianapolis 500. Noon sneaks up fast and with hundreds of shots on our list before the race starts, you learn to move quick. I was in a little too much of a hurry race morning, I ran straight over to my location to take this photo and realized I didn’t have a memory card in my camera. I sprinted all the way back to the media center, grabbed a card and was on my way. While running through the grandstands I fell really hard, looked up quickly to make sure no one watched me fall – sure enough another photographer did. It took more effort for this photo than most but I’d say it was worth it.
Many feel it’s time for a break when it rains at IMS during the Month of May but for me it’s just another reason to run out and document the event. If you are a writer and you have to write a story about how it was another washout at the Speedway, you are going to need a photo to go with that story, right?
It never crossed my mind once how the old pylon was maintained. Now it’s a large LED board. I stumbled across this scene one evening in May as I was leaving the track, I thought it was odd to see every light on the pylon flashing so I went to check it out. There he was with a box full of light bulbs, prepping the pylon one last time. I’ve wondered how he felt about doing this task for the last time – he might not have thought twice about it but for me it would have been a big deal considering I’m one of those weird people who grow emotionally attached to objects.
A.J. Foyt at his shop in Waller, Texas. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be standing in A.J.’s race shop asking him to pose for a photo. I went out to the Waller based shop to cover an announcement, the event wrapped up and it occurred to me I may never get this opportunity again so I asked if we could go take a photo on the shop floor. Not my most artistic photo but definitely one I am honored to have the privilege to have taken.
The sun was just starting to go down and we were 20 minutes away from our final practice session of the year at Auto Club Speedway. Helio was in contention to race for the championship the following day. I like how you can see his determination and focus in this photo yet he also appears to be somewhat calm.
I love this photo of Sébastien Bourdais’ No. 11 machine. I took it at this year’s Long Beach Grand Prix. The palm tree shadows are my favorite part. I also like the view looking down on the car from the roof of the parking garage. It’s a perspective we don’t see often. Did I mention you can’t be afraid of heights for this one?