Ok, it is a job, a hectic job sometimes at that, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. As Director of Photography for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the INDYCAR Series through the years, I have seen countless races, travelled the world and got to do many things in my career. I’ve met many people from all walks of life from movie personalities, the sports world and world leaders.
Some stand outs are Presidents Ronald Reagan (whom I was named after) and Jimmy Carter (before he was President), Ex-Beatle George Harrison who was contemplating coming to Indy to be on my staff for 1994, Arnold Palmer (who chipped golf balls over my head as he filmed a Pennzoil Commercial here at Indy), Mohammad Ali, Payton Manning, Medal of Honor winner, Col. Bruce Crandall (who waved the Green Flag at the Indianapolis 500 this year) and countless others.
I’ve walked through the pits with Joe Walsh, guitarist for the Eagles, been hit with the green flag at the start of the race by Jack Nicholson (and the one rule I tell the honorary starters before the start of each race is “…don’t hit the photographer!!!”).
I will have to give the year 2003 a nod as one of my most memorable years. 1st in April, I rode the 2 seat Indy Car with Ed Carpenter driving, around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Then, a couple of months later, I was allowed to drive a Competition class rail dragster for 6 passes at Muncie Dragway 1/8th mile strip (yes, at speed). Then a test at Indianapolis Raceway Park (it was still called that then) for the Indy Racing Experience in a single seat Indy Car.
Then, at the 2nd Texas race, I was afforded a chance to ride in the Klein Tool Stunt Plane on a practice run doing all of the stunts they do, prior to the pre-race show. The pilot would not let me bring a camera in case I passed out (which I did not). It was the time of my life and I didn’t get sick or dizzy!!! All in all, a great year.
Who says you can’t have fun at your job?