Thursday, September 1, 2011

Theme Day: Perspective

Indy '500' Day May 2011
I suppose how one feels about anything, what one's perspective is, so to speak, depends on how it's first experienced. The above photo was taken just before the start of this year's Indianapolis 500-Mile Race looking south, down the front straight towards Turn One.

I first visited the track when I was about sixteen. When we entered the property through the main entrance on 16th Street, via the tunnel beneath Turns One and Two, I thought I was looking at the main straight. I was impressed with the massive stands and smooth expanse of asphalt. In fact, it was only the eighth-mile Short Chute between the turns; until that day, I hadn't seen anything larger than the half-mile oval at my local fairgrounds.

Speedway Turn One during the early morning, before the race.
The pavement just inside the green band of grass is the
warm-up/pit exit lane, while the third, wider band is,
essentially, Turn 11 of the road course used by motorcycles.
When I moved to Speedway over thirty years ago, one of the first places I visited was the track. It was a cold, snowy day. The gate at 16th Street and Georgetown was open, there was no one there to say otherwise, so I walked up into the Turn One grandstand. Even though it was covered in snow, I felt as though the track were alive, a breathing thing. Somewhere in the distance I heard an engine, growling and rumbling. It could have been an engine being worked on in Herb Porter's garage in Gasoline Alley or a motorcycle on the street, I don't know. I did know I'd found my home.

Outside IMS on Georgetown Road looking south.

The picture above is the way the place looks on most days of the year, a gray expanse of concrete and steel that harbors legends, has for a hundred years been the scene of dreams achieved and dashed to ashes, of astounding achievement and great tragedy. It is a place where men and women challenge themselves and each other, to have their likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy. It is more than the money, it is the honor of having one's name associated with so many great drivers.

A section of the SAFER Barrier. First installed at the
Speedway in 2002, it has since become the standard

The picture above shows a section of the SAFER barrier in Turn One. Developed by engineers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, under the sponsorship of the Indy Racing League, it was first installed in all four turns of the Speedway in 2002 and has since been installed on all tracks where the IRL and NASCAR compete. As of 2010, most tracks in the country over a mile in length have the SAFER barrier in place because its technology has proven to decrease the severity of driver injuries, absorbing and dispersing the kinetic energy from the crashes.

A spectator, maybe in his 30s,
but more likely about 3.

Last of all, I apologize for not having pictures of the cars. My camera is small, not powerful enough to catch cars at speed, so I rarely bother with them. In a few weeks though, I expect to add a lot more car porn to my posts -- for myself as well as anyone else who might care. But mostly for myself.

To view other photographers' interpretation of today's theme, click here to view thumbnails for all participants.


Valladolid Daily Photo said...

Fantastic theme shots! I really love races so it is perfect to me.

dive said...

Mmmm … Car porn …
You know how I love this stuff, Speedway. I can't wait for more.

Speedway said...

If I have my dates right, it'll be stained glass and car porn w/i a week. I guess I'll have to monitor the dosages so you don't OD.