No ‘Shoots’ for you…!!!


 Ok, first, I want to make it very clear that I am grinning as I write this…It may sound as if I am complaining, but this experience probably made me feel more like a photographer than any other …

     Well, I should qualify that statement by saying that a good ‘capture’ actually makes me feel a little better.

This goes back to Memorial Day weekend..The Indy 500…

     I think what brought it to mind is that I was, finally, processing some images to send to a young US Army private, who was the flag bearer who just happened to be, with his flag, next to the car, driver, and owner that I was there to shoot.  Of all the flag bearers involved, he was the only one who was  ‘stationed’ next to the winning auto.  I hope the pictures I sent him help him remember the day!


‘We’ won…..!!

The significance of winning the 100th Anniversary race…

The significance of winning with a car that was owned by what is considered, ‘on the grid’, by a less than major team..

The significance of winning with a driver who many consider as ‘not a full-time’ driver…

(even though this is his second Indy 500 win…)

were not totally at the forefront of my thinking at the time.

     All of these things added up to a sum that I did not fully grasp until later…

(The number 98 car, whose owners include Cary Agajanian, whose father’s #98 car won the Indy 500 in 1963 with Parnelli Jones as the driver…among other historic tidbits.)

So, later….

The race is coming to a close…

     I have now covered….I don’t know how many races for the Curb Racing team, and I’m beginning to worry that someone along the line is going to say, “Hey, every time that Randy Powers, photography guy, is at a race, we ‘futz’ out!….Get him away….!”

…When… What happens?

The car that I’m covering wins the ‘big ‘un’!

Sorry for the long lead-in…

     The owner, my ‘boss’ has already ‘left the building’!!!

…told me I could ‘hang out’ if I wanted to…

     I’ve got an all access pit pass AND a grandstand ticket so I’m going back and forth between the two…

As fate would have it…

(No, I can’t give fate all the credit. I would like to think that I knew what I was doing…Just a little bit.)

     I had worked my way back down to the pit for the last 30 or 40 laps.

     This is when it got good, and I felt absolutely thrilled that I was standing next to Cary Agajanian during this last part of the race and he was generous enough to share his racing knowledge and the strategy involved in this last, most important part of the race.

     I really had never thought about what was involved…much like a non- Baseball- fan thinks that a baseball game is sooooo boring, while a fan is thinking,

“You’ve got men on first and third, no outs, a tiring pitcher….one run down…

     Duh…Yeah, you bunt here, then you’ve got two men in scoring position, and with the possibility of a wild throw….you’re tied with STILL two men on base….or…etc…

     According to Cary’s ‘take’ I had Dario Franchitti winning his second 500 in a row….but there was that little thing of, “good strategy, now put just a little more fuel in…”

      Anyway, after the race is over and pandemonium has officially broken loose…I am scrambling with the crew and owners to get to Winner’s Circle…the owner is scrambling to get back in the track….(he finally got a police escort)….

     There is a certain hierarchy, not to mention credentials, in the racing photo business.

I had neither, just an owner and team to vouch for me.

     They have  these roped-off  photo risers where the ‘official’ photographers get the view of the celebration that is in all of the pictures that ESPN, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, etc publish.

The guards kept pushing me back….

     Finally, when the owners were set to pose with the driver and car, Mike Curb had convinced the ‘photo nazi’ that I needed to be on the risers.

     Well, ‘PN’ didn’t like that…at all….but he ushered me in with the warning, “Don’t get in front of anybody….Sit over there!!!”, pointing to a spot that was no better than where I was at the back of the crowd. I assumed he meant, “Don’t block anybody’s view!” so at the split second that my team was posing, I slid over a couple of feet…(I’m afraid I WAS blocking someone’s knees!)

Fired a couple of shots and that’s when I heard,

“Okay…That’s it!!! I told you not to get in front of anybody!”

and I was unceremoniously ushered right back out!!!!

     I know he didn’t grab me by the ear, but that’s what it felt like….The first grader caught chewing gum….or Curly being led by Moe…

     So, I weaseled my way back into my side position and then they, meaning big guards, started moving that line also. I never figured out why, but…..

     I keep on shooting, hoping that everyone will turn my way once again, and here it came…

     I feel a hand grab my shoulder and heard a somewhat menacing whisper/growl of,

“What’s it gonna take?!?”

     This time I felt like the middle-schooler who inadvertently hit Miss Aida… a teacher in the face with an errant squirt gun shot…..

     But, at least, being an adult, and not worrying about it going on my ‘permanent record’, or ‘getting licks’, I was smiling and doing my best “Aw, c’mon…..I’m just trying to do my job….”

He would have none of that.

(I’ll have to admit, I felt a little bit important because he made his way around the barricades out into the ‘commoner’s’ section to accost me.)

      Now, I’ll have to give the guy credit. He made things run very efficiently and, I’m sure, has many years of experience in knowing what makes it go smoothly and what kind of ‘riff-raff’ (me, apparently) to look out for….AND,

He had a badge…..and I have always made it a point not to argue with those…

     If I find myself at Indy again, on the grid, or near Winner’s Circle, I will make a point of having someone introduce me to him so that I’ll either know that he will ‘take care of me’ or,

that he is going to ‘Take CARE of me!”

Either way, at least we’ll know where we stand…..

And I’ll know where NOT to stand!

~ by rkpowers on July 15, 2011.

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