23 September 2011

Another brick in the wall

Yard, really.  As in, the Brickyard, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  At one time the entire 2.5-mile circuit length was paved with over 3 million bricks.  These days the expanse of smooth asphalt is interrupted only at the Start/Finish line with just a single yard of the incongruously textured things. 

Leading up to this year’s MotoGP round at Indy the photo or photos I most wanted to get would only be available before the motorcycles rolled in earnest.  I had an idea of what I wanted to do technically, and made my way to the Speedway on the Thursday afternoon to see if I could make it happen. 

Credentials sorted, media center desk space reserved, I walked down to Start/Finish and, sure enough, the racing surface was essentially open, with a gate in the front straight Armco opened to the yard of bricks.  Track workers were putting finishing touches to signage and communication gear, racers were cruising the track on scooters, cornerworkers were getting a walking tour, and assorted people were out for their afternoon jog or pedal.  A Dorna cameraman was recording some video of the famous bricks and various walkers-by would stop for keepsake photos, but basically I had the run of the front straight to set up my photos and absorb the history of the place in the pre-event calm.  If the roadcourse circuit used by MotoGP (and Formula 1 before that) at IMS isn’t exactly steeped in history or distinction, the legendary oval certainly is and it’s always a treat to soak it in before things get noisy.