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IMS Writers’ Roundtable, Vol. 43: Best IMS Angle?

Today’s question: When you look at photos of Indianapolis Motor Speedway or are at the track in person, what’s the angle or view that still stops you in your physical or mental tracks?

Curt Cavin: So many to choose from, obviously, but I’ll go with the aerial shot from the right side of a landing commercial flight. I usually try to grab the window seat for the approach to Indianapolis International Airport so I can be reminded of the sheer size of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I typically notice how perfectly shaped the track’s corners are, noteworthy given that it’s the same design from 1909. Night flights are particularly cool. If there are no lights on, it’s as if IMS is a sleeping giant; if the Pagoda happens to be lit, it’s a beautiful sight. And finally, it’s always fun to hear people in the rows around me notice the track. Their reactions warm my heart.

Zach Horrall: Much like Curt, I also relish the view of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when preparing to land at the Indianapolis International Airport. It truly is the best welcome to Indianapolis. While that view is up there, it does not hold my No. 1 spot. For me, the best view of IMS is just off the exit of Turn 4 with the full length of the main straightaway taunting you. It fascinates me how as you look down toward Turn 1, the racetrack just funnels down and gets lost in the grandstands 5/8th of a mile from where you’re at. Standing right there makes me appreciate those who have made this track what it is over the last 112 years. And if it’s nighttime with the Scoring Pylon and Pagoda lit in the distance, you almost feel like you’ve gone back in time to 1909.

Paul Kelly: My first visit to IMS was in May 1990, and I started working here in 1998. Yet my answer to this question is unchanged. The most captivating view for me at the Speedway is standing on pit lane or the front straight either at the Yard of Bricks or just south of it toward Turn 1 at sunset and looking at the grandstands on the outside of Turn 1. It’s just an iconic view that screams Indy to me, with the Scoring Pylon, the Penthouse seats and the optical illusion of a 90-degree angle in Turn 1. Every time I see that view, in person or in a photo, the ghosts of IMS past speak to me.

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