Twenty years? How did that happen? I was 27 and working for Fox 59 in Indianapolis as a news photographer and thoroughly enjoying the month of May. Each news organization had their own newsroom near the pagoda where we set up monitors and editing equipment, prepared packages to air later in the day, shared stories, stopped for some food and drink, charged batteries (literal) and even relaxed a little.
Excitement – Everyone on the news team was excited for the Indy 500. We spent hours and hours at the track developing stories covering drivers, fans, weather, speed, practice, qualifications, pit crews, food vendors, luxury suites, Yellow Shirts, parties, camping, sunburn, team owners, controversy, traffic and more. Our two sports guys were Kerry Addington and Brian Hammons although most members of the on-air news staff made it out to the track to put a story together. Bob Donaldson and Chris Wright frequented the track during the month.
Race Day – Our new-to-Indianapolis news director Jim Sanders prepared us by deferring to Brian Hammons who had the most experience with Race Day. (Brian had worked for other news organizations and was actually working as a pit reporter for the IMS Radio Network on this day.) Our team was focused with their assignments as we loaded our gear. We were escorted by police into the track (what a thrill!) and to our newsroom along the main straightaway. Our fire suits customized for Fox 59 were issued several days prior so those working the pits were protected.
You may remember the weather was cold! This presented a challenge to everyone as we were sure we’d be hot and uncomfortable. Not so! Here are some random memories:
To all those news photographers working today – be safe! You’ll have memories for a lifetime to cherish.