From the photo vault: The ‘day-after’ shots

Published On April 10, 2016 » 2872 Views» By John Schwarb » Blogs, IMS, IMS History, Indy 500, Photography

We’re chronicling 100 days of Indy 500 history on #SpeedRead leading up to the historic 100th Running. With 49 days to go, we’re digging deep into the IMS photo vault.

More from the vault: Can I get a word? | Drinking the milk | Henderson/Nabors | The Snake PitSelling the 500 | Going to the dogs | More 100 days blogs

A win at the Indianapolis 500 brings many indelible Victory Circle images – the driver with the wreath, a swig of milk, a kiss from a significant other. Everyone remembers the classics, like A.J. Foyt holding up four fingers in 1977 or Tony Kanaan soaking himself in milk in 2013.

But there’s nothing quite like the “day-after” photo, where driver and car are reunited one more time, for all time. You know the shot, on the Yard of Bricks with the expanse of the main straightaway and Turn 4 stretching far into the background.

This isn’t something that dates all the way to 1911, but 60-plus years has been more than enough to entrench the day-after shot among the great “500” traditions.

“We have waited the whole week, month, year for the winner of the next Indianapolis 500. Here’s our guy,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway photographer Chris Owens said.

“The photojournalism is really great in Victory Circle, but they’re so cluttered – there’s a million team members and random people who have snuck in to be in the photo. This is our portrait day with our ‘500’ champion.”

So, what are some of the classic portraits? Who was in the first shot? What are some of the best backstories?

Once again, the photo vault has answers.


1. The first: Mauri Rose and owner Lou Moore were in the first staged day-after portrait, in 1941. Oddly, co-winner Floyd Davis is not pictured.


2. The second: After 1941, of course, the “500” went on hiatus for World War II. Once it came back, Lee Wallard was the next to have a formal day-after shot in 1951.


3. Classic Foyt: Gotta include one A.J. photo, so here he is after win No. 3 in 1967.


4. Million-dollar Fittipaldi: In 1989, the winner was guaranteed $1 million, so the idea was hatched to put all that money around Emerson Fittipaldi’s car for the day-after shoot. “They had four guys with rifles to guard the money,” IMS historian Donald Davidson remembered. But, believe it or not, $1 million didn’t look like that much money when sprinkled around the car. So IMS photo director Ron McQueeney managed to get more from the retail coffers.

“I thought, what an operation this Indianapolis Motor Speedway is – how many places could go and get a million dollars in cash on a holiday?” Davidson said.

As it turned out, there was about $1.8 million around Fittipaldi in this picture.


5. Enough is enough: The photo shoot grew over time as drivers would pose with more than just their car, owner and the Borg-Warner. Next came crew, sponsors, family, you name it. The “hat dance” also grew as drivers donned a different hat for every sponsor, and Arie Luyendyk was believed to have posed in 78 hats in 1990. After that, the shoot was reined in just a bit.


6. Too cute: When Ryan Hunter-Reay won in 2014, his young son had an identical DHL driver suit, which made for some terrific family images. Note the mini wreath!


7. Packed house: While the most popular day-after photo looks so serene, with no one else in the photo but the driver (and occasionally some workers in the grandstands picking up trash), the media scene is anything but. This is what it looked like for Juan Pablo Montoya last year.


About The Author

John Schwarb

I joined the Indianapolis Motor Speedway communications team in July 2014 and love sharing stories from the World Capital of Racing, particularly its rich history. Most of my professional career has been in racing or golf, so if I'm not in the IMS media center, the office at 16th and Georgetown or milling around Gasoline Alley, maybe I'll be standing over a birdie putt at Brickyard Crossing. Follow us at @IMS or drop me a line at @JohnSchwarb and come back to the blog often for more stories.

Does anyone proofread or fact check at IMS?  Foyt's win in 1967 was his third, NOT his second. As much as the Speedway adores AJ, I'm surprised that one slipped through.