I, PAPARAZZI…(at the Indy 500)


     I’m not much for chasing people around and getting in their faces so that I can sell a picture of their cellulite…or mistress…or any of the number of other things that seem to ‘grace’ the ‘news(?) of the day’…particularly if I’m required to elbow my way through 42 other photographers…


     I don’t mind snapping a shot or two if someone recognizable passes by while I’m waiting for my ‘assignment’ to happen.

Indy 500, 2010

Let’s get these out of the way first.

Jack Nicholson,

who waved the green starting flag at this year’s race. (He was supposed to wave the flag, come down from the flag stand and go about whatever he does…they couldn’t get him down! He then waved the yellow flag after an accident, and then the green flag AGAIN when the race started back up.) I think he was enjoying himself!!

BTW, anybody remember Jack’s appearance on The Andy Griffith Show forty years ago? He played a slightly disturbed young man…imagine that!

Marl Wahlberg…

He was there as an owner, along with Mario Andretti.

     I like Mark’s acting…..wasn’t a big fan of the ‘Marky Mark’phase, several years ago.


Mario Andretti.

More about him later involving some racing history. Even if you are not a race fan, you’ve heard his name. I think it is mentioned in about 30 hit songs.

The Kardashians

     Sorry, but I still don’t know what they do, or have done, other than appear on magazine covers and gossip columns.

Okay, enough of that…..

The Race

     The Indianapolis 500 is considered the Super Bowl, the World Series, Wimbledon, the Masters, of automobile racing.

       Approximately 500,000 people in attendance, and I don’t know how many television viewers worldwide.

It’s about as American as you can get.

On Memorial Day, when we honor our fallen soldiers.

     The parade of living, active soldiers before the race had the crowd of a half-million on their feet, saluting these men and women who are dedicating their lives so that events such as this race can continue in a free world.

     The drivers in this year’s race represented 12 different countries! Yeah, that’s America, too!

     I was on ‘the grid’ for quite some time, waiting for the subject that I was there to shoot.

     Actually, I ‘overstayed my visa’ so to speak. “Easier to ask forgiveness than permission”

That’s kind of American, too (Ooops…don’t go there!)

     As I mentioned in my Daytona 500 post, I can’t publish the photos that have to do with my actual client…maybe later.

     Also, as I have mentioned, I have never before been a huge race fan, but the scientific/engineering aspects of the cars, the track, the pit crews, the drivers…is extremely fascinating..not to mention the stories that I have heard!

Which leads back to Mario Andretti.

     Over the years, drivers and their teams have always tried to figure out, and hold, the upper hand in aerodynamic design of their cars. Back when the cars were shaped like the Monopoly car, everyone was working on the concepts of wind drag on the body….streamline for more speed. The underside of the car was simply covered over with a flat surface. Finally, an engineer added the ‘wings’ or wind-foils to help hold the car to the track. At one point, someone came up with the idea of putting fans under the car to suck it down to the surface. That idea was eventually banned. THEN, Andretti teamed with Lotus and in various brainstorming sessions, the team came upon a 16th century concept, by Venturi, of molding a tunnel into the undercarriage that would literally hold the car down through the utilization of speed and aerodynamics.

     The story, I was told by a racing expert, may be anecdotal, but may be the exact truth. Sounds plausible, anyway.

     Andretti’s car, with the Venturi tunnel, kept winning, and winning, and the other teams couldn’t understand how their cars constantly fell behind. Then, in a particular race, Andretti’s car flipped and slid upside down in front of the pit area and ALL the competition said, “OOOOOOOOH! So THAT’S it?”

The rest, as they say, is history.

     This is why, when a car gets the slightest bit ‘tipped’, it can fly through the air like a leaf in an Autumn gust. The bond between car, wind, and asphalt is broken.

     I’m including a video of one such occurrence at this year’s race. If the results of this wreck had been more tragic, I would not include it, but as it is, now you’ll know why this happens. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4CCWoF-DCU 

Mike Conway suffered only a broken leg from this accident, but after watching the video, it seems pretty obvious that the Indy safety regulations must be pretty good.

And Now,


Nashville’s own ‘home-boy’…well, sort of….

Dario Franchitti


~ by rkpowers on June 2, 2010.

2 Responses to “I, PAPARAZZI…(at the Indy 500)”

  1. Nice photos and write up. Hard to beat the Indy 500 for excitement and emotion.


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