Best Photos of 2017

As we begin to look toward the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season with great anticipation, our INDYCAR Digital Media and Photography groups wanted to give a last holiday present. Earlier this month, we challenged our photographers to provide favorite images they captured from this past year, along with a few words on each image.

In Volume 1, we start with our photographers' favorite images from the St. Petersburg through Iowa race weekends. Tomorrow, we'll share Volume 2, covering the Toronto through Sonoma races and the offseason. Enjoy!

Race #1 - Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Photographer: Shawn Gritzmacher
There is always such excitement and palpable nervous energy surrounding the season opener in St. Pete. Life away from the track can be a bit less nerve-racking, such as helping out with the opening of Susie Wheldon's boutique in downtown St. Pete.

Conor Daly, Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, and Josef Newgarden

Photographer: Shawn Gritzmacher (Editor's Choice)
Sebastien Bourdais and his family have adopted St. Petersburg as their home, so when he scored an emphatic win to kick off the 2017 season, you could just feel a special vibe emanating from victory circle from the Dale Coyne Racing team. That was a show of old-school (new-school?) Sea Bass.

Sebastien Bourdais

Race #2 - Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

Photographer: Chris Jones
James Hinchcliffe takes the checkered flag for the win at Long Beach, adding to his miraculous comeback story after his serious injuries at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2015.

James Hinchcliffe

Race #3 - Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

Photographer: Bret Kelley
They just keep enhancing the beauty at Barber Motorsports Park. And this year didn’t disappoint us.

Graham Rahal

Photographer: Joe Skibinski (Editor's Choice)
Over the years, we have come to know Scott Dixon by many titles. Indianapolis 500 champion. Four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion. Living legend. However, if you were to ask him what title he's most proud of, we are undeniably confident he'd say "dad." His daughter Tilly would echo those sentiments after qualifications at Barber Motorsports Park.

Scott Dixon

Race #4 - Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix

Photographer: Chris Owens
Night racing uses a whole different skill set for a photographer. It’s fun to experiment with different techniques and make something truly unique, such as eventual race winner Simon Pagenaud during the nighttime practice.

Simon Pagenaud

Race #5 - INDYCAR Grand Prix

Photographer: Mike Harding (Editor's Choice)
Such a cool perspective of the start of this year's INDYCAR Grand Prix (note the green flag flying). A nice crowd on hand to watch the action unfold as the field streams toward Turn 1 of the road course at the north end of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

2017 INDYCAR Grand Prix

Photographer: Matt Fraver
All the teams line up their wheels for the Firestone service staff to mount the latest compound tire for the INDYCAR Grand Prix. It makes for an interesting pattern.


Race #6 - 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500

Photographer: Chris Owens (Editor's Choice)
This year's Indianapolis 500 can probably be summed up by one word: Alonso-mania. Formula One champion Fernando Alonso chooses to skip the Grand Prix of Monaco in order to compete in the Indianapolis 500. He is truly an international motorsport rock star, but as you can see in many of his IMS photos, he was relaxed, engaging, smiling - all of which were truly genuine. He enjoyed his time at IMS, as did we all, and we would welcome him back for another attempt at winning "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Fernando Alonso

Photographer: Chris Jones
Fernando Alonso was the big story in May, but three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Johnny Rutherford, who was part of the McLaren support team, thoroughly enjoyed his opportunity to check out Alonso's car. Sitting in that papaya-orange McLaren would make anyone smile, but no one more than Lone Star JR.

Johnny Rutherford

Photographer: Chris Owens
One of the great things about the Indianapolis 500 and the month of May are some special times photographers have with living legends of motorsports. Mario Andretti is just that. His legacy is more than just in motorsports, but also as a part of Americana altogether. His sense of humor combined with his warmth and humanity is so true, so this light-hearted moment captured during a special photo session is priceless.

Mario Andretti

Photographer: Shawn Gritzmacher (Editor's Choice)
Takuma Sato's radio call immediately after winning the 101st Indianapolis 500 was an expression of pure joy - no translation necessary. From the excitement in victory circle through the victory celebration the next evening, there was no doubt Sato would be a very popular and personable champion. A lifetime of racing culminating in his biggest victory of his career - and all sealed with a kiss.

Takuma Sato

Races #7 & #8 - Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix

Photographer: Chris Owens (Editor's Choice)
Every so often, perhaps once every 1-2 seasons, you have a race weekend where you get the feeling everyone is really running for 2nd place. Our weekend in Detroit this year was just that. Graham Rahal was simply in a league of his own, sweeping the weekend races.

Graham Rahal

Race #9 - Rainguard Water Sealers 600

Photographer: Chris Owens
Texas was a high-speed action-packed thriller this year. I was leaving a designated photographer location when I noticed how the sunset was hitting the track. There was no photo hole available, so I shot this photograph right through the fence! Great light in this one!

2017 Rainguard Water Sealers 600

Race #10 - KOHLER Grand Prix

Photographer: Chris Jones (Editor's Choice)
If you've never been to Road America to watch a race, do yourself a favor - go! Some of the best fans, and best bratwursts, can be found there. You owe it to yourself to experience it.

KOHLER Grand Prix

Photographer: Matt Fraver
One of the benefits of the LED position lights is the winner is clearly defined in victory lane. Team Penske looked to be a lock for the win at Road America, but once again, Scott Dixon and Mike Hull worked their magic and stole the victory for Chip Ganassi Racing. A great race between powerhouses of INDYCAR.

Scott Dixon

Race #11 - Iowa Corn 300

Photographer: Chris Jones
Helio Castroneves climbs the fence at Iowa after a three-year victory drought. With Helio’s move to sports cars in 2018, the next chance for him to climb the fence at an INDYCAR race will be at the 2018 Indianapolis 500, where he will be going for a record-tying fourth win.

Helio Castroneves

Photographer: Chris Owens
Helio wins at Iowa! Isn’t Helio a guy everyone cheers for? The moment I hear over my radio “all cars have taken the checkered and are in the pits,” I sprinted across the infield and started shooting away! Here it is!

Helio Castroneves