Three years ago I made the decision to set my academic sights on eventually earning my Sports Journalism masters degree from the University of Indiana at its IUPUI branch in Indianapolis. Part of that decision was in the potential opportunity to cover the Indianapolis 500, the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” a race that had been a part of my Memorial Day weekend activities since the late ’90s.
Fast-forward to now and I’ve just wrapped up covering my first “Month of May,” reporting on the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis and of course the two weeks leading up to and including the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.
The month included a wet walk through Gasoline Alley with a fellow Indianapolis Monthly writer, standing on pit road for all the second day of Indy 500 qualifying to interview almost every driver (but most importantly Kurt Busch, my first chance to ever ask a NASCAR driver a question). I stood at the top of the Pagoda the night of the “Last Row Party” and watched the sun set on IMS and Indianapolis. I did my very first “Grid Walk” the morning of the “500” and of course I was whistled at by the endless army of “Yellow Shirts” in the infield, who I firmly believe are all that stand between us and societal progress.
I forgot to mention I inadvertently photo bombed James Hinchcliffe’s post-qualifying interview on ABC.
All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the great people at the National Sports Journalism Center and Indianapolis Monthly, who trusted me with writing about the events and people at the track in their name.
With their support I was able to write some of the best material of my career, which was invaluable for someone who wants to eventually be an auto racing journalist and had never been to a race as a member of the media.
Below are links to where you can check out my specific coverage for both the NSJC and IM, with my favorite pieces highlighted. Enjoy and let me know what you think.
Profile on driver James Hinchcliffe, written the week after a small accident left him with a concussion.
I stood on pit road for 2-3 hours along TV reporters getting their repetitive soundbites to compile all 33 driver’s earliest memories of the 500 and to grab answers from elusive and very busy Kurt Busch.
National Sports Journalism Center Coverage:
- My piece on Grand Prix winner Simon Pagenaud, whose first memory of Indy was Jacques Villeneuve winning the 1995 “500.”
- Ever wondered what it’s like inside the garage of legendary driver A.J. Foyt? Here’s your chance.
- This May marked the anniversary of the closest finish in the history of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Here’s my story on Peter Dempsey and the 2013 Freedom 100.
- 33 drivers were entered into this year’s Indy 500. James Davison was the last one.
- Those in attendance at the 98th running of the Indy 500 were treated to the second-closest finish in the race’s history. My recount of the memorable last four laps and the post-race reaction from its two combatants.