Saturday, May 12, 2012

Rookie Josef Newgarden Tops Indy Opening Day

Josef Newgarden leads Simon Pagenaud through Turn 3 in practice at Indianapolis
Rookie Josef Newgarden topped 220 mph to lead the speed parade at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today on the opening day of practice for the 2012 Indy 500. In quite a surprising outcome, Newgarden surely gave little Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing a shot in the arm which hopefully they can build on through the rest of practice. If he keeps this up, he could be a contender for the Fast 9 or even the pole next Saturday. I'm sure there were a lot of raised eyebrows in the garage area following Newgarden's times today as he got to 219 early in the afternoon and then followed up with his 220 lap late in the day. Quite impressive for last year's Firestone Indy Lights champion.

It was a great day for practice at the Speedway today and I am always overjoyed when the track finally opens each May. Every year it's old home week at IMS and a chance to connect with old friends, some of whom I haven't seen since last May, plus meet new connections. I've been shooting Indy for so long that sometimes the biggest challenge is seeking creativity in my images and I can't say that I always get it right. But I do try to tell a story with my pictures and the shots I end up liking the most are often not action pix, but ones like the father and son watching with the boy halfway climbing the balcony railing, or the one with Dan Wheldon's face on the Borg Warner trophy for his 2011 win. So enjoy these photos and I will have many more to add as the week goes on, with Pole Day being the last day I can work at the track this week. Then it will be time to have the anticipation build for Carburetion Day the Friday before race day and then the 500 two days later on May 27th. I have not missed a 500 since 1976 and I'm grateful to be able to keep the streak alive. There's no place like it, but the biggest surprise I had today was that I did not need earplugs. That's too bad - I like it loud! But I did get several strong whiffs of ethanol exhaust when I was shooting outside of Turn 3 today, so that sort of made up for the lack of volume. Sort of, but not quite. More soon race fans!

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