This year marked the fifth time my wife and I attended the Indy 500 Festival Parade in downtown Indianapolis. It’s an annual date-day tradition for us — partly to see the floats and high school marching bands, partly for the famous names (even if the rest of the audience loves them more than we do), and partly because I love the sight of a bustling downtown Indianapolis (which needs to happen every single weekend ever).
The next six entries (to be posted over the next few days as quickly as time and attention span permit) represent a fraction of the pics my wife and I snapped. In many cases, encores and additional takes of specific subjects may be available if anyone out there is interested in seeing more, or is looking for a loved one who was in one of the many marching bands that day. For first-time MCC visitors, please note my wife and I are relative amateurs, absolutely not trained professional photographers, sharing these from a hobbyist standpoint because fun and joy.
First up: some of your qualifying drivers in the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, to be held Sunday, May 24th — i.e., the next day after I’m writing this. All thirty-three drivers showed up in this year’s parade, though a last-minute dropout caused some reshuffling of contestants in the last eight rows. We captured thirty of those folks on camera (thirty-one if you count a near-invisible Easter-egg appearance — see below), which I think is an all-time best for us. Other than Graham Rahal pictured above (my favorite pic of the bunch), the following drivers are presented in actual Indy 500 starting order from Row 11 to Row 1, barring any last-minute lineup adjustments in the morning.
(As always, photos are clickable for enlargement and resolution and such.)
Outside Row 11: James Davison.
Middle of Row 11: Tristan Vautier, who was officially added to the race when Carlos Huerta dropped out due to illness. His bump upward was so last-minute, his name wasn’t in the parade roster as of Friday night.
Inside Row 11: Ryan Briscoe, whose wife Nicole is a sportscaster for ESPN.
Middle of Row 10: rookie Stefano Coletti.
Inside Row 10: Jack Hawksworth.
Outside of Row 9: Sebastian Saavedra.
Middle of Row 9: rookie Gabby Chaves.
Inside Row 9: Pippa Mann.
Outside of Row 8: Takuma Sato.
Inside Row 8: Conor Daly.
Outside of Row 7: Sage Karam.
Middle of Row 7: Alex Tagliani.
Inside Row 7: James Jakes.
Outside of Row 6: Simona de Silvestro.
Inside Row 6: Indy 500 2014 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Middle of Row 5: Charlie Kimball.
Inside Row 5: Oriol Servia. [UPDATED 5/24/2015, 5:10 p.m. EDT: MCC congratulates Juan Pablo Montoya, winner of the 2015 Indy 500, who appears here as a black-clad Easter egg at far left. Sigh.]
Outside of Row 4: Ed Carpenter.
Middle of Row 4: Carlos Munoz.
Inside Row 4: JR Hildebrand.
Outside of Row 3: Josef Newgarden.
Middle of Row 3: Marco Andretti.
Inside Row 3: Sebastien Bourdais.
Outside of Row 2: Justin Wilson.
Middle of Row 2: Helio Castroneves! Winner of the Indy 500 in 2001, 2002, and 2009, and known competitor on Dancing with the Stars. He tends to draw one of the loudest responses from the crowd, either because of winning or because he’s done other things in the public eye besides racing.
Inside Row 2: 2013 winner Tony Kanaan.
Outside of Row 1: Simon Pagenaud.
Middle of Row 1: Will Power.
Your 2015 Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter: 2008 winner Scott Dixon, who qualified with an average speed of 226.76 MPH.
To be continued! Links to other chapters in this annual MCC miniseries are listed below. Thanks for stopping by, and please feel free to mention these to millions of your closest friends: