News & Multimedia

The Pagoda never looks the same

I hear a lot of powerful words associated with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Sacred, hallowed and revered are used often. I completely agree. There is something incredibly special about these grounds.

It only makes sense that on these hallowed grounds, there’s been a pagoda for almost 100 years. Pagodas were built in Asia as places of worship or a place to safely store sacred items. Of course, the home of the Indy 500 would have one, too.

 

Before I jump into my relationship with this Indianapolis Pagoda, let’s get the facts out of the way. Carl Fisher had a wooden Pagoda first erected in 1913. That one burned down in 1925, and a similar one replaced it. After 10 years of modifications, Tony Hulman had a new version constructed – in 1957. The one you see today took its place in 2000. By the way, I’m no historian – these facts were all taken from the IMS site - I just rearranged them to create my own paragraph. But on to the real story.
 

Early morning in front of the Pagoda

During event time, I often find myself holding a camera. When I hold a camera, I look at things differently. I think everyone does – you’re just expecting to capture a glimpse of something unique. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway never disappoints.
 
One of my best friends at IMS works in Pagoda Command during all our events – the Indianapolis 500 (IndyCar), Super Weekend (NASCAR, Nationwide and GRAND-AM) and the Red Bull Indianapolis GP (MotoGP). Along with a variety of internal and external departments, he sits high up overseeing the day-to-day activities. His view is spectacular.
 
As a photographer, I quickly found myself drawn to the Pagoda. It’s near impossible to take a bad photo of it. The more the photos I took, the more I challenged myself to capture a different side of this incredible structure. I wanted to capture its complexity, its imposing stature, its role in the history of 100 years of racing.
 

The sun rises over the Pagoda

I started a tradition and challenge for myself. I wanted to give my friend in the Pagoda a gift each race day. There was an easy solution: I’d give him a photo of the Pagoda that he was sitting in (probably looking down at me and laughing). In return, I would capture a different side to the Pagoda.
 
These are some of the images I’ve taken the past couple of years. And like I said, it’s near impossible to take a bad photo, especially when witnessing a sunrise. It’s a profound experience.
In September, I was in Japan for the IZOD IndyCar Series race at Twin Ring Motegi. On a free day, I made the short trip from Utsunomiya to Nikko, to visit the Toshugo Shrine, including a five-story pagoda. It all clicked for me there (photographically and metaphorically) - the experience of standing on hallowed grounds, surrounded by people with a real passion and gazing at a pagoda that itself has witnessed centuries of history. It all seemed so familiar.
 

The Pagoda in Nikko, Japan

The grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are hallowed. And if you find yourself standing in front of the Pagoda, don’t be shy in taking a photo. For one, it will be a great shot. And secondly, it never looks the same, no matter how many pics you take.
 
I should know, because I’ve tried.
 
You can also view this story with image gallery on SPEEDTV.com
 
More images below.

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
The Pagoda never looks the same
 
The Pagoda never looks the same
It only makes sense that on these hallowed grounds, there's been a pagoda for almost 100 years. Pagodas were built in Asia as places of worship or a place to safely store sacred items. Of course, the home of the Indy 500 would have one, too.
Read More
Related Media
Pippa Mann and Melanie Astles
 
Pippa Mann Gets Her Race Wings
Two great female motorsport role models met up in Indianapolis to share their insights about their sports, with British IndyCar racer Pippa Mann buckling up for a wild ride in the air. Melanie Astles, who competes in the Challenger Cup, took Mann up for a taster flight in her raceplane and it seems Mann is just as comfortable in the air as she is on the ground...
Read More
Simon Pagenaud
 
Pagenaud Drives to Dominant Sonoma Victory and 2016 Championship
With a dominating drive from the pole position, Simon Pagenaud won the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and earned his first Verizon IndyCar Series championship.
Read More
Astor Cup
 
Pruett's Preview: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
The big question left to answer across 85 laps under the wine country sun in Northern California is whether Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud or Will Power will be celebrating into the night on Sunday with thousands of diehard open-wheel fans.
Read More
Simon Pagenaud
 
Sonoma Raceway Provides Perfect Setting to Decide Championship
Sonoma Raceway, with its challenging and undulating 2.385-mile permanent road circuit set against the backdrop of Northern California’s beautiful wine country, plays host this week to the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. And as has been the case for more than a decade in the Verizon IndyCar Series, all the marbles are at stake.
Read More
Team Stop and Go
 
Racing World Awaits Hinchcliffe's 'Dancing With The Stars' Debut Tonight
Hinchcliffe is paired with professional dancer Sharna Burgess, appearing in her eighth DWTS season. Burgess’ best previous DWTS finish was runner-up with Nick Carter last fall in Season 21. Hinchcliffe, the sixth-year Verizon IndyCar Series veteran with four career wins, is competing against 12 other celebrities, ranging from Olympic gold-medal gymnast Laurie Hernandez to rapper Vanilla Ice to actress Marilu Henner.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 376
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
World Golf Hall of Famer, Nick Price, visited the @Redbullairrace! #SpeedRead https://t.co/gK6nIbCs85 https://t.co/2OOU4XPvBV
about 5 hours ago