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
IMS Crowd
 
IMS Seating To Be Smoke-Free Beginning in October 2017
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced today that its grandstands will be entirely smoke-free beginning with the 2017 Red Bull Air Race. In addition, leading up to the Air Race, the track will provide limited smoke-free family grandstands at select Month of May events and at the Brickyard 400.
Read More
Fashon Friday
 
Indy 500 Fans: Show Greatest Wardrobe in Racing on #500FashionFridays
Indianapolis 500 fans are encouraged to show their pride for the world's greatest race every Friday in the celebratory Month of May 2017 by wearing black, white and checkers to work, school and leisure activities.
Read More
Doug Boles
 
IMS, INDYCAR Retain Ties with Purdue Grand Prix
So many go-kart team participants who competed in Saturday’s 60th running of “The Greatest Spectacle in College Racing” at West Lafayette, Indiana, have an ambitious eye toward the future. Be it drivers or team members, these Purdue University engineering students aspire to be a part of the Indianapolis 500, “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
Read More
Fernando Alonso
 
Alonso Begins Indy 500 Learning Process with Visit To Barber
If nothing more can be gleaned from Fernando Alonso’s visit today to Barber Motorsports Park – and his plan to race in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 28 – it’s that racers share one goal: to be faster than the rest, no matter the car or venue.
Read More
Fernando Alonso
 
Formula One Champion Alonso To Test May 3 at IMS
Two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso will begin on-track preparation for his Indianapolis 500 debut with a test session Wednesday, May 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 1,353
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
30 days! #Indy500 https://t.co/cxTYjmYR5W
about 4 minutes ago