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Chris Owens, Best Photos of 2019

As we quickly approach the final laps of 2019 and take the green flag for 2020, it’s only appropriate for me to reflect on some of my favorite moments and best photographs of this past season at the Brickyard. Defining my best images of the year is no easy task. Building one gallery from all the hours, days and months spent walking around this speedway with my camera is a massive project that’s hard to do justice. 

The diversity in subject matter while working for IMS is quite vast. Whether shooting golf at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course, the concert stage, dirt track, road course, studio photography or the high speeds of the oval, I’m constantly challenged and stimulated. I also can’t forget stomping around in the snow for those winter scene shots we all enjoy. It’s all top-class entertainment that requires the utmost focus and creativity from myself and our staff.

With all of that said, the highest honor to me is having the ability to share what it’s like being here at The Racing Capital of the World with our race fans. It excites me to give everyone some behind the scenes views and in-between moments that might have been missed otherwise. Knowing how much IMS means to its fans makes the work that much more rewarding and of value to me.

Thanks for taking a look! Please leave a comment and tell me what you think.

-Chris Owens

Best of 2019

1. It has always amazed me how much the sound can change at IMS. It goes from being the loudest sports venue in the world in the summer as race cars take over this historic venue to a breathtakingly silent winter wonderland with changing seasons and sound proofing from the snow.

Best of 2019


2.
Will Power isn’t just a badass in the car. He loves to drum and rock out at home, too. Anytime Will and I spend any extended amount of time together our conversation eventually moves to music. He’s also the only driver I’ve had that makes his own music requests on studio days (my studio ALWAYS has a stereo).

Best of 2019

3. I absolutely love this photo from the start of the INDYCAR Grand Prix. These drivers have so much to sort out in the next few feet and within just a couple seconds. That tight Turn 1 is coming quick, and leader Felix Rosenqvist is already heading that direction. Year after year I don’t know how they make it through Turn 1. Action like this is why IMS truly is The Racing Capital of the World.

Best of 2019


4.
The Official Pace Car for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge: a 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport. I loved everything about this extremely fun photo shoot. The car looks so fast, and I really love the color. I even got to briefly drive it this year. So cool!

Best of 2019


5.
Scott Dixon is one of the greatest of my generation. Hell, he’s one of the greatest open-wheel drivers of all-time! Watching him prepare for a session is fascinating to me. Unlike all the other drivers I’ve photographed, Scott literally gets ready at the last possible second. I notice other drivers will spend upwards 20 minutes stretching and putting on their gear slowly. Scott takes maybe 20 seconds putting on his helmet, and then he jumps in the car and wins. It’s neat to observe.

Best of 2019


6.
Arguably the grandest of all trophies in sport is the Borg-Warner Trophy. I’m grateful that I am around it often and have the chance to photograph it each year. I’m amazed that somehow, year-after-year, I always seem to find a better angle of this beautiful trophy and take new photos of it that I like. I think it’s just that spectacular!

Best of 2019


7.
Month of May events and practice for the Indianapolis 500 typically have me photographing and editing for roughly 10-12 hours a day. Even then, it’s nice to take some time to play with the camera and try to make abstract images. Sometimes, the results are stunning and put this great sport into perspective. This image is the result of shooting the cars at a slower shutter speed, which emphasizes just how fast the cars are. Although I don’t do it often, this is my favorite way to shoot!

Best of 2019


8.
During the fall of 2018, IMS applied a black sealant to the racing surface. This made for a very dark racetrack for NTT IndyCar Series testing in early 2019. With some computer adjustments and reducing the blacks in the image this is what came out: Will Power – BLACKOUT! This stunning photo morphs Will’s car into the racetrack for a stunning image that I can’t even begin to describe.

Best of 2019


9.
I really enjoy this image. To me, it’s just a really epic scene. It was a grand moment in person, and it looks the same in this photograph. Bringing the entire Indianapolis 500 field together moments before they strap in the car is something. Let me tell you, I love the 500. There are only two places you’ll find me on race day - at the track or in the ground…

Best of 2019


10.
This is the most unique milk shot I have ever photographed here at IMS. Literally every single inch his face is covered with the white victory beverage. It’s almost like he’s a porcelain figure. I mean it when I say that Simon is a very deserving winner and great ambassador for the Indianapolis 500 and IMS. You can tell from this photo just how excited and proud he is.

Best of 2019


11.
Look at all that energy! We take time the day after the Indy 500 to make some portraits of the race winner. This is my favorite from that shoot. Simon is great to work with!

Best of 2019


12.
Norman is just the best! For two days after the Indianapolis 500 I go on the winner’s media tour across the country that consists of various media interviews with the winning driver. This photo was taken in a hallway of the Empire State Building. Simon is such a kind owner for giving Norman a view of what it might be like to win the Indy 500 and wear the wreath!

Best of 2019


13.
Growing up, I was never introduced to any form of dirt racing. But I must say that over the last couple years it has been a real pleasure learning all about it! It truly is some of the best racing I’ve been around! After this year’s Driven2SaveLives BC39 Powered by NOS Energy Drink I noticed all the photographers were doing the same thing in the same spot. I wanted my image to be unique. With it being dark, I hoped I would catch some of the other photographers’ flashes to help glamorize the image. I was lucky that it worked! Congratulations, Zeb!

Best of 2019


14.
I took this photograph on one of the last restarts for this year’s Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line. I’ve always been amazed at how large of a field NASCAR brings to the race. All of those drivers barreling at you side-by-side into Turn 1 and not knowing if they’ll make it through towards Turn 2 is a real sight to see!

Best of 2019


15.
Everybody loves Charlie Brown’s Pancake and Steak House in Speedway. The morning after the announcement that Mr. Penske purchased IMS, the executive leadership team met at Charlie Brown’s for breakfast. It was amazing to hear Mr. Penske’s genuine enthusiasm and to hear some of his plans for the next chapter of IMS as we enter a bright new future. For those wondering, I had biscuits & gravy….

Best of 2019


16.
I’ve seen lots of sunrises and sunsets from the early mornings and late nights I’ve spent working at IMS. The stunning colors that take over this racetrack never cease to amaze me. I always have to take a photo, and it gets me every time.

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