This year marked the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. Nicknamed “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indy 500 has been a staple event in the world of motorsports – so much so that it’s one of the three races in the motorsports triple crown, an achievement held only by the legendary racer, Graham Hill.
Although the Indianapolis Motor Speedway never releases official numbers for the attendance of the 500-mile race, this year marked one of the highest numbers recorded, with tickets selling out for the first time ever and estimates ranging between 350,000 and 400,000 people.
To put that into perspective, that’s more people than those attending the last four Super Bowls put together, and almost twice as many people as the 2015 Kentucky Derby. Even more impressive, that means at least one out of every 1,000 people in the United States attended the race.
The population density of the #Indy500 will be the highest anywhere in the world. 176,522 ppl/sqkm. Nearly 6 times as dense as Mumbai.
— Con Sullivan (@Eolach) May 26, 2016
All of that to say, the Indy 500 is one of the most incredible events you could ever imagine going to, especially when it’s the 100th running.
To show off a glimpse of the activity from the day, IndyCar created a time-lapse of this year’s race, from the time people started entering the gates to the checkered flag. All in all, the time-lapse captured roughly 10 hours of ethanol-fueled excitement and condensed it down into 60-seconds of footage.
This writer spent this past weekend (May 28-29) at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, capturing the event through the viewfinder of a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Nikon FG. It marked my second time shooting the Indianapolis 500 and the third time I photographed a motorsports event.
I didn’t get to shoot as much as I wanted to, due to two of my lenses being out of commission at the absolute wrong time, but my 70–200mm f/2.8L IS II managed to get me through the day, alongside a 500mm f/4L IS that I borrowed from a friend.
Compared to the above time-lapse, I captured the day on a far more macro level. So, to give a little contrast to IndyCar’s overview, I figured I’d share a few of the photos I captured during the race.
Whether or not you’re a motorsports fan, I can’t encourage you enough to at the very least watch the Indianapolis 500. Better yet, take some time off and experience the event for yourself. Unlike Formula 1, general admission is quite affordable and the experience is one you will never forget.
Below is a video from IndyCar showcasing a montage of moments from this year’s 500-mile masterpiece. The full race should be posted on IndyCar’s YouTube channel by the end of the week, so head on over and subscribe if you didn’t get to see the race live.