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
James Hinchcliffe
 
IndyCar Media Day Features Offseason Tales, Preseason Optimism
Helio Castroneves insists he’s getting younger. Will Power is taking more selfies now that he’s a father. Conor Daly is still rooming with James Hinchcliffe. And Oriol Servia is working out in the same Gold’s Gym as Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Read More
Firestone
 
IndyCar Announces Multiyear Contract Extension with Firestone
INDYCAR announced a multiyear contract extension today with Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC (BATO), continuing its longtime partnership with Firestone as the official tire supplier of the Verizon IndyCar Series. The announcement extends the tire brand’s involvement in open-wheel racing that dates to Ray Harroun’s Firestone-equipped Marmon Wasp winning the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911.
Read More
Rev Indy
 
Newgarden Named Honorary Chair for 2017 Rev presented by Fifth Third Bank
Methodist Health Foundation announces Verizon IndyCar Series driver Josef Newgarden as the Rev 2017 honorary chair, for the fourth annual event taking place May 6 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
A.J. Foyt Racing
 
AJ Foyt Racing Partners with Chevrolet for 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series Season
It is a reunion for team owner A.J. Foyt, whose last race as an Indy car driver came with Chevy power at the 1992 Indianapolis 500 and whose Verizon IndyCar Series team ran Chevrolet engines as recently as 2005 with grandson A.J. Foyt IV at the wheel.
Read More
Spencer Pigot
 
Pigot Joins Ed Carpenter Racing Lineup for 2017 Road and Street Courses
Pigot, the 2015 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champion and winner of more Mazda Road to Indy developmental series races than anyone (24), competed in 10 Verizon IndyCar Series races last season, split between Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing. He drove in the season’s final seven road/street races for ECR, posting best finishes of seventh at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and ninth at Road America.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 1,269
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
RT @jdouglas4: New stages for @IMS @NASCAR BY400 will end on lap 45, lap 90 & the race win at 160! I like 45 laps! 1945 is the year Tony Hu…
about 10 hours ago