#TBT: 2004 IndyCar Halloween party

Published On October 29, 2014 » 2931 Views» By John Schwarb » Blogs, Indy 500, Photography, Verizon IndyCar Series

With Halloween coming up tomorrow, we couldn’t resist the chance to pull out this classic shot from the 2004 IndyCar Championship Celebration, exactly 10 years ago today.

Yes, that's Dan Wheldon, Arie Luyendyk, Tony Kanaan, Bryan Herta and Dario Franchitti.

Yes, that’s Dan Wheldon, Arie Luyendyk, Tony Kanaan, Bryan Herta and Dario Franchitti.

To celebrate the end of the season, the series took to the high seas for a three-day Disney Cruise. Season awards were handed out, food and drink were consumed and on the cruise’s final night – Oct. 30, 2004 – a costume party was held before the ship returned home on the afternoon of Halloween.

The Andretti Green Racing contingent of Dan Wheldon, Tony Kanaan, Bryan Herta and Dario Franchitti stole the show by dressing up as women. (Two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk, dressed as Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner, also joined in for the picture, shot by Indianapolis Motor Speedway photographer Chris Jones.)

“Haha … yikes! Such a great camaraderie we enjoyed at that time,” Herta said last week while looking at the photo. “Can’t remember whose idea it was to dress up as women, but clearly none of us did a very convincing job of it. I do remember we tried to even wear press-on nails and that lasted about two minutes. Honestly, not sure how the girls out there do it.

“Was a great end to a great season, still makes me smile every time I see it.”

The four AGR teammates were renowned as a tight-knit bunch and stories of their frequent practical jokes are legendary. No surprise that they were the life of this party.

“The idea of dressing like that came from Brian and Dario and the purpose was to leave the worst fake hair for Dan to use,” said Kanaan, who was that year’s series champion. “It brings a lot of good memories back.”

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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.
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