27
May
Overall view of fans in the grandstands and infield as IndyCar Series drivers head down the backstretch three wide towards turn three during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

One of my favorite events I cover each year is the Indianapolis 500. To someone who’s never been there, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a mecca for motorsports fans. The place oozes with history and the tradition of the biggest race on Earth! Lets get on to the pics…

Typically I fly to Indy on Thursday before the race but due to NHRA being delayed and me missing my Monday evening flight and not getting home until Tuesday, I needed a few days to relax at home so I changed to a flight that arrived in Indianapolis at 1am on Saturday morning.

Flying out of Phoenix on Friday at sunset certainly would have its perks for me and the Canon 1Dx on my lap like it is for every flight.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority It was a beautiful evening to fly as my US Airways flight turned onto the runway to takeoff into the Arizona sunset.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority
It was a beautiful evening to fly as my US Airways flight turned onto the runway to takeoff into the Arizona sunset.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 1000iso, f5.6, 1/640th, Aperture Priority Aerial view of downtown Phoenix at takeoff from Sky Harbor International Airport. In the bottom right of the shot you can see Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 1000iso, f5.6, 1/640th, Aperture Priority
Aerial view of downtown Phoenix at takeoff from Sky Harbor International Airport. In the bottom right of the shot you can see Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

After getting to my room for the weekend it was time for about 6 hours of sleep before I had to head out to the track (after my Dennys of course) to pick up credentials and check out the photo position I had my friend Bill mark me in turn one.

With all that done it was time for a little fun courtesy of my fishing pal and long time NHRA crew chief Lee Beard out on his boat on Eagle Creek Reservoir. I’m never one to turn down an afternoon of fishing, especially when I don’t have to pay a fishing guide 400 bucks for the pleasure!

Photo by Justin Tooley Enjoying a nice day out on Eagle Creek fishing with fellow fishing nut Lee Beard. Here he shows off a nice bass caught on a topwater lure.

Photo by Justin Tooley
Enjoying a nice day out on Eagle Creek fishing with fellow fishing nut Lee Beard. Here he shows off a nice bass caught on a topwater lure.

After a tough afternoon of a slow bite we took the boat across the lake to the waterfront Ricks Boatyard.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 1000iso, f4.5, 1/50th, Aperture Priority Following a relaxing afternoon of fishing out on Eagle Creek Reservoir near Indianapolis, we enjoyed happy hour and a gorgeous sunset at Ricks Boatyard.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 1000iso, f4.5, 1/50th, Aperture Priority
Following a relaxing afternoon of fishing out on Eagle Creek Reservoir near Indianapolis, we enjoyed happy hour and a gorgeous sunset at Ricks Boatyard.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 10,000iso, f2.8, 1/25th, Aperture Priority Here is a view from the water of Ricks Boatyard all lit up on the Eagle Creek Reservoir.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 10,000iso, f2.8, 1/25th, Aperture Priority
Here is a view from the water of Ricks Boatyard all lit up on the Eagle Creek Reservoir.

With my alarm set for 5am it was time for bed.

The next morning upon arrival to the track I heard the bad news that the IndyCar officials had decided to close down a few of the photo holes on the inside of turn one. The decision was made as a result of a big crash by Indy Lights driver Chase Austin in which he crashed into the inside tire barriers and one of the tires came loose from the barrier and hit a photographer.

Here is video of the crash with multiple angles.

Despite the fact that it was the first time anyone I talked to could think of that a photographer in that spot was injured they closed down several of the photo holes cut into the inside fencing.

Of course the photo hole all the way on the right in the below photo was my spot. With all the spots marked by photographers who had been there the last two weeks, there was nowhere for me to move in my favorite spot.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/2000th, Manual View of IndyCar Series photographers on the inside of turn one during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A portion of the section (right) was closed following the injury of a photographer in the Indy Lights crash of Chase Austin in the Freedom 100.

View of IndyCar Series photographers on the inside of turn one during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A portion of the section (right) was closed following the injury of a photographer in the Indy Lights crash of Chase Austin in the Freedom 100.

Not only did I lose my spot that I shoot in every year, it would throw a wrench into my normal plan of shooting the driver introductions and them climbing into their cars. Now I would have to make the long walk with all my camera gear to see if I could find a spot with a good view of turn one.

Having heard a rumor just before I flew out of Phoenix that the turn one photo position could be closed, I made the risky decision to ditch packing my 400mm lens and instead of opting to pack the 600mm lens.

If my preferred spot was going to be unavailable my second choice would be to try and shoot elevated with my long lens (600mm) from atop the grandstands where I figured I would have a great view of turn one.

After talking with my buddy Bret who works for the track, I asked him if credentialed photographers were allowed at the top of the grandstands where fans pay big bucks for the best view in the house. His response was something along the lines of yes we were allowed there but it was probably a good idea to get there early and make friends with a yellow shirt security guard. Ok so basically what he was saying is no its not a photo spot but if you can BS your way there then you’re good to go!

With no other places I wanted to shoot my only option was to think to myself, challenge accepted!

I made the roughly 3/4 mile walk with my three 1Dx camera bodies, a 600mm, 300mm, 70-200mm and 24-70mm lenses along with a backpack that included my laptop, a portable battery pack for my laptop and a bunch of bottles of water. All of this walking was against the flow of the couple hundred thousands of fans making their way into the track.

Completely worn out and out of breath, I made the trek to the top of the turn two grandstands only to be shutdown by the 75 year old yellow shirt working the stairway to the top row of the stands.

Dejected and less than an hour from the green flag I walked to the bottom of the stands and walked along looking up to see if there would be an easier yellow shirt to coax into allowing me in a spot I apparently wasn’t allowed in.

Just one section down I spotted my target, a roughly 20 year old guy who was easily the youngest security guard I’ve ever seen at the track. I’m not being dramatic when I say the average age of a yellow shirt is about 65-70 years old.

With my radio headset on and multiple cameras on me the kid didn’t even try and stop me from going past him and setting up on top.

It was a hell of a view!

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 400iso, f7.1, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority The view from the spot I snuck into in turn two with a great view of turn one and the short chute.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 400iso, f7.1, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority
The view from the spot I snuck into in turn two with a great view of turn one and the short chute.

The security guard would come up to the top row from time to time and I’d get nervous but finally I started chatting with him and he told me as long as I stayed out of the paying spectators way I could stay. Sweet!

With the stress of not knowing where I was going to shoot behind me I could focus (pun intended) on the race.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 500iso, f7.1, 1/5000th, Aperture Priority A helicopter flies as balloons are released prior to the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 500iso, f7.1, 1/5000th, Aperture Priority
A helicopter flies as balloons are released prior to the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

With it being Memorial Day weekend, there would be no shortage of American flags.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 400iso, f7.1, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority IndyCar Series fans hold American flags in the grandstand during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 400iso, f7.1, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority
IndyCar Series fans hold American flags in the grandstand during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 400iso, f9, 1/1250th, Aperture Priority A fan in the grandstands looks at the starting lineup of IndyCar Series drivers prior to the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 400iso, f9, 1/1250th, Aperture Priority
A fan in the grandstands looks at the starting lineup of IndyCar Series drivers prior to the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

After what seemed like forever, the 33 IndyCar drivers made their way out onto the 2.5 mile oval.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 400iso, f7.1, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority IndyCar Series drivers come by the turn two grandstands three wide on the final pace lap prior to the start of the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 400iso, f7.1, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority
IndyCar Series drivers come by the turn two grandstands three wide on the final pace lap prior to the start of the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

While I was still pretty bummed to not be in the spot I wanted, my backup plan was a great angle to get some shots I’d never had the chance to shoot in my seven previous Indy 500’s.

The crowds for this years race were very good. It has taken several years for the race to return to the prominence it once held before the Cart/IRL split prior to the 1996 race.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/2000th, Manual Overall view of fans in the grandstands and infield as IndyCar Series drivers head down the backstretch three wide towards turn three during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/2000th, Manual
Overall view of fans in the grandstands and infield as IndyCar Series drivers head down the backstretch three wide towards turn three during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

With electricity flowing throw my body and my arm hairs standing up on end the announcer said “Green Flag” and I was literally shaking with excitement as the field raced into turn one.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/2000th, Manual IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe leads the field into turn one on the first lap of the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/2000th, Manual
IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe leads the field into turn one on the first lap of the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The first lap is typically the best chance to get a large group of IndyCars racing together so I was happy to get the below shot.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/2000th, Manual IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe (27) leads Will Power (12) Ed Carpenter (20) and Marco Andretti (25) during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/2000th, Manual
IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe (27) leads Will Power (12) Ed Carpenter (20) and Marco Andretti (25) during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

A few laps in we would almost have an incident as the cars raced off turn two onto the backstretch.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/2000th, Manual IndyCar Series driver Ryan Briscoe (8) smokes his tires as he makes contact with James Davison (33) during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/2000th, Manual
IndyCar Series driver Ryan Briscoe (8) smokes his tires as he makes contact with James Davison (33) during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

This view is a good indicator of the massive crowds on hand for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 400iso, f8, 1/1250th, Aperture Priority Overall view of fans in the grandstands and infield as IndyCar Series drivers race down the backstretch towards turn three during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 400iso, f8, 1/1250th, Aperture Priority
Overall view of fans in the grandstands and infield as IndyCar Series drivers race down the backstretch towards turn three during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

As the field continuously clicked off laps caution free, the race was moving along quickly.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 400iso, f8, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority Overall view of fans in the grandstands watching as IndyCar Series drivers race through turn two during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 400iso, f8, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority
Overall view of fans in the grandstands watching as IndyCar Series drivers race through turn two during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/2000th, Manual IndyCar Series driver Jack Hawksworth (98) leads Jacques Villeneuve (5) Pippa Mann (63) and James Davison (33) into turn two during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/2000th, Manual
IndyCar Series driver Jack Hawksworth (98) leads Jacques Villeneuve (5) Pippa Mann (63) and James Davison (33) into turn two during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/2000th, Manual Overall view of fans in the infield and turn three grandstands as IndyCar Series drivers race during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/2000th, Manual
Overall view of fans in the infield and turn three grandstands as IndyCar Series drivers race during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

My main job when covering the 500 is make sure I am in victory circle for the winners celebration. Since I was on the outside of the track pretty far away I would have to leave my spot at lap 165 to start my walk.

I was completely paranoid I would miss a crash in the turn as soon as I left but I would get lucky and make my way to the infield in time to shoot turn one from a spectator area on a restart where an accident would take place in the first turn between Ed Carpenter and James Hinchcliffe.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f6.3, 1/1600th, Manual IndyCar Series drivers Ed Carpenter (left) and James Hinchcliffe crash in turn one during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f6.3, 1/1600th, Manual
IndyCar Series drivers Ed Carpenter (left) and James Hinchcliffe crash in turn one during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f6.3, 1/1600th, Manual IndyCar Series drivers Ed Carpenter (left) and James Hinchcliffe crash in turn one during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f6.3, 1/1600th, Manual
IndyCar Series drivers Ed Carpenter (left) and James Hinchcliffe crash in turn one during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Carpenter would walk over and give Hinchcliffe a piece of his mind.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f6.3, 1/1600th, Manual IndyCar Series drivers Ed Carpenter (left) and James Hinchcliffe crash in turn one during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 640iso, f6.3, 1/1600th, Manual
IndyCar Series drivers Ed Carpenter (left) and James Hinchcliffe crash in turn one during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Here is video of the crash

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 400iso, f7.1, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority Detailed view to the damaged car of IndyCar Series driver Ed Carpenter after being involved in a crash during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 400iso, f7.1, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority
Detailed view to the damaged car of IndyCar Series driver Ed Carpenter after being involved in a crash during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 400iso, f7.1, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority The crashed car of IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe is towed back to the pits during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 400iso, f7.1, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority
The crashed car of IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe is towed back to the pits during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

After the crash I had enough time to head to the media room, drop all the extra gear off I didn’t need and to get in position for the end of the race.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm, 640iso, f6.3, 1/3200th, Aperture Priority IndyCar Series driver Helio Castroneves (left) races alongside Ryan Hunter-Reay in the closing laps during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm, 640iso, f6.3, 1/3200th, Aperture Priority
IndyCar Series driver Helio Castroneves (left) races alongside Ryan Hunter-Reay on the last lap during the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In the second closest finish in Indianapolis 500 history, Ryan Hunter-Reay would become the first American to win the 500 in eight years.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 500iso, f6.3, 1/1600th, Manual IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates after winning the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 500iso, f6.3, 1/1600th, Manual
IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates after winning the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The most important shot of the race for me is the driver dunking himself with milk.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 100iso, f7.1, 1/200th, Manual IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay dumps the milk on his head as he celebrates after winning the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 100iso, f7.1, 1/200th, Manual
IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay dumps the milk on his head as he celebrates after winning the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

While it wasn’t my best milk shot it certainly was better than last years! <–Click Here

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 400iso, f5, 1/640th, Aperture Priority IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay holds an American flag as he celebrates after winning the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 converter (420mm), 400iso, f5, 1/640th, Aperture Priority
IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay holds an American flag as he celebrates after winning the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Midway through victory circle photos the magnitude of the win struck Hunter-Reay.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 100iso, f9, 1/250th, Manual with Flash IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay reacts as celebrates after winning the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 100iso, f9, 1/250th, Manual with Flash
IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay reacts as celebrates after winning the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

A wonderful moment was spent with Ryan and his son Ryden.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 100iso, f8, 1/250th, Manual with Flash IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates with son Ryden Hunter-Reay in winners circle after winning the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 100iso, f8, 1/250th, Manual with Flash
IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates with son Ryden Hunter-Reay in winners circle after winning the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Following the victory circle photos it was a crowded walk through the fans to the media center.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 500iso, f6.3, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay (yellow suit) is surrounded by Police as he is led to the media room after winning the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 500iso, f6.3, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority
IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay (yellow suit) is surrounded by Police as he is led to the media room after winning the 2014 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

That wraps up the 2014 Indianapolis 500.

Next up for me is NHRA in Englishtown!


 
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