IndyCar: Bommarito Automotive Group 500

30 August 2018

Back stateside, this time for a dose of Indycar oval action in St. Louis...

Only a few weeks after my last trip over the big pond I was once again packing my bags for another trip, this time for IndyCar in America. I’ll be honest at this point, I wasn’t quite as excited about this one. Whilst the whole experience itself was definitely going to be something to remember seeing Indycar on a street track versus an oval short course are two entirely different things.

Upon my arrival at the Gateway Motorsports Park I quickly learnt the first downside of oval racing. The waiting. Unfortunately the area had been hit with heavy rain showers all morning long and this quite simply means no running. Literally nothing. Free Practice sessions came and went, and were subsequently rearranged and then rearranged again. I was left wondering if I’d ever get to see a car running on an oval.

Luckily the skies cleared and the jet driers headed out to attempt to get the circuit into a useable condition. After many hours we finally had some on-track running with a heavily revised schedule that meant there’d be two sessions. There was meant to be four…

One thing I hadn’t quite anticipated is how fast these cars can go on an oval – pounding around the circuit at over 150mph was impressive to watch. The whole event had a very different feel and atmosphere to the last one I attended in Canada. The crowd was different, the pitlane felt somewhat more American too. It was probably one of the roomier pitlanes I’ve ever worked in!

Come the final session of the day (dubbed the night session – as this race would take place under the spotlights) we were treated to a great sunset which covered the pitlane in a glorious orange glow. Having looked at the timetable we were set to get this once again the following day for the race. Fingers crossed anyway!

Race day came about and once again we were kind of sat around waiting for anything to kick off. Having wondered the paddock most of the morning looking for shots (and done some pre-race recce) we were running out of things to do! Luckily once the cars had been wheeled out of their transporters we were good to go. Things got busy!

It was all over in a flash really. 500 laps really doesn’t take these guys that long so you had to be quick at nailing those client shots and the more creative angles. It was an odd experience but one that I ended up enjoying despite the limited nature of shooting an oval circuit. I think credit needs to be given for the photographers who come week in and week out and manage to take exciting imagery of ovals – there’s certainly a challenge involved in it.

Thanks once again to Spacesuit Media for the opportunity and to Andy for showing me the ropes of oval racing! Hopefully I’ll be back stateside in 2019 for some more IndyCar action.