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
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
NASCAR to Expand In-Car Camera Live Streams on Twitter in 2018
NASCAR® announced March 14 it will live-stream one in-car camera on Twitter for 15 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series™ races during the second half of the 2018 racing season, including all 10 NASCAR Playoffs races.
Read More
Kevin Harvick
Harvick Captures Third Straight Win in 2018, Triumphs at Phoenix
Harvick beat Kyle Busch to the finish line by .774 seconds to win his third straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series of the season, the first time a driver has strung three victories together since Busch accomplished the feat at Kentucky, New Hampshire and Indianapolis in 2015.
Read More
Jeff Gordon
Many Winning IMS Ties to Nominees for NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2019
Five-time Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon leads a list of drivers and team owners with winning connections to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway among the 20 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019.
Read More
AMR Named Official Ambulance Provider of IMS, INDYCAR
The INDYCAR Safety Team, an industry leader in motorsports, now has title sponsorship from a national leader in emergency medical transport. American Medical Response (AMR) was named today to a multiyear partnership with INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. AMR will brand the INDYCAR Safety Team and provide emergency and non-emergency ground medical transportation services at IMS.
Read More
Kevin Harvick
Harvick Claims 100th NASCAR Win in Las Vegas
Kevin Harvick was every bit as dominant on the newer asphalt at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, racking up impressive numbers in winning Sunday’s Pennzoil 400, the third event of the season.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 819
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 IMS Sales Department at (317) 492-8739 or email at
Latest Tweets
It's Pole day on @CrownRoyal Armed Forces Weekend & we can't wait to see you! Check out details on the day:
May 21