Monthly Archives: February 2019

IndyCar Preseason Media Day

Today was Media Day for the IndyCar series and of course the event was held in Austin, Texas. Well of course it was. Having attended preseason media day in the past, it is an opportunity to hear from the new drivers, old drivers in new rides and the series officials themselves on what they think the up coming season will bring. Why Austin when the series opens in St. Petersburg, Florida and much of the racing takes place in the midwest including two races in Indianapolis?

This year the series will be racing at Circuit of the Americas in Austin on March 24 for the first time. The track is well known for hosting MotoGP and F1. It is a technical track with a couple of high speed sections. COTA has produced some exciting racing in the series that have raced there, now it will be IndyCar’s chance to shine in the Texas sun.

Scott Dixon will be looking to repeat his 2018 series championship with two team goals, win the series and the 500. Dixon will be back driving for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2019.

A couple of Swedes lead the new drivers part of the season. Marcus Ericsson driving for Arrow Schmidt Peterson in the 7. Felix Rosenqvist also of Sweden will debut in the 10 for Chip Ganassi Racing. It has been 15 years since the two have raced against each other in karts. 

DragonSpeed enters five races this year as a rookie team and driver with Ben Hanley in the Chevrolet powered entry. Hanley and team will be at St. Petersburg, Barber, the 500, Road America and Mid-Ohio. DragonSpeed is expected to be full time in 2020.

Other rookies in the series include Santino Ferrucci at Dale Coyne, Patricio O’Ward and Colton Herta both at Harding Steinbrenner Racing. Ferrucci has had some limited time in Indy Car and teams with Sebastien Bourdais. O’Ward and Herta both drove Sonoma for Chevrolet powered Harding racing, this year the team makes the switch to Honda.

Will Powers takes a moment to soak it all in after winning the 2018 Indianapolis 500.

In the old driver new ride catagory, Conor Daly will be racing with Andretti Autosport with Air Force backing. Jordan King moves to Rahal Letterman Lanigan from Ed Carpenter Racing. Ed Jones will be at Ed Carpenter from Ganassi.

Preseason testing kicked off at a rainy Luguna Seca and will continue tomorrow Feb. 12 and Wednesday at COTA. The actual racing season kicks off March 10 on the Streets of St. Petersburg. Races Mar. 24 at COTA, April 7 and 14 at Barber Motorsports Park and Streets of Long Beach lead up to the month of May at Indy. 

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The Art of Travel

Often you hear, “it is not the destination but the journey.” And just as often you realize that it is neither really. It is the anticipation of either that really brings the joy. The planning and the expectation really are what often gives us joy. The hope of experiencing something new. The wonder of the new that takes hold and puts the smile upon out face.

If we brought this same sense of wonder and joy to the small journeys we undertake everyday, the smiles and happiness we could pass along.

Today’s journey can be one of wonder and joy if that is the destination we set our sights on.

A thousand mile walk to the sea begins with a single step. A journey of a lifetime begins with a single smile.

Small town in the middle of?

John Mellencamp sang about it, I’ve lived it. The small town which I grew up in, and currently live near, is and isn’t like a lot of small towns everywhere. Several generations of most of the families have lived here and if yours hasn’t you’re an outsider. There are families that share the same last name that insist they are not related. Truth is there was a falling out several generations ago that few if anyone really remembers. It is always safest, until you learn otherwise, to assume that everyone you talk to is family.

The county that my particular small town is located in is rolling out a new marketing campaign to attract visitors and perspective residents. We are a rural area that is roughly equal distance from Chicago, Indianapolis and Detroit. The intersection of a couple four lane highways that the state is trying to reestablish as major transportation routes is also in the center of the county.

The slogan or tag line the county is looking to establish is a play on the fact that while we are located in the center of these three large metro areas, it could also be called the middle of nowhere.

This is like a large part of Indiana. Small communities of several families that have farmed the land around the community for generations. Retail and industry grew up out of necessity in the agrarian economy that dominated the landscape. As transportation improved and the ability to ship products into and out of these communities improved the industry changed from small specialists that serviced the area to large manufacturing that capitalized on the expertise of the local entrepreneur.

As shipping, transportation and communication continued to improve even these manufacturers had to compete in a world labor market. That is where these communities find themselves.

That is how my small town is similar to just about every other hamlet in the state. How it is not similar is that a hundred years ago a private school was established on the shores of the relatively large spring fed lake. Along with the school the rail system brought a steady flow of visitors to the lake from these previously mentioned urban centers. Initially the vacation home owners and visitors were from the Indianapolis area. Eventually in later years it transitioned to include a large number of Chicago area vacationers also.

So while the local number of residents that live year around has remained unchanged for years the small community grows during vacation times. This has given the community some insulation from the loss of residents that other small communities and the state as a whole have sustained.

This is where we have come from and there are some interesting prospects on the horizon that will bring the process full circle. The rail that helped establish the community as a vacation getaway, there is an effort to reestablish commuter high speed rail that would put the area within commuting distance to Chicago.

Communication technology continues to improve that will make working and producing content in a rural location competitive. Competing in a world labor market for these skills makes the wages and cost of living in the small rural areas competitive again.

I like my small community, I like the lifestyle it affords me. I also like the location because I can get away easily to those urban areas and beyond. The world is smaller everyday. Not that long ago I knew most of the photographers and graphic artists in the area. Now I work with and communicate with photographers worldwide. My photos are as likely to be published in Europe as they are here. I am currently working with a paper in Idaho and fortunately I don’t have to travel to Idaho in February.

Like it or not Mellencamp probably got that right also, I’ll probably die in a small town.

Beauty through the lens

Taking advantage of the weather to catch up on reading and writing. The aesthetics of our everyday life have always been an interest of mine. What part does beauty play in our life? Do we have a collective sense of quality? Is there a degree of beauty?

While different cultures have different tastes or fashions. The true sense of quality is universal. The subject matter of a painting, sculpture, opera may not be to one’s liking, but there is an overall goodness or element of quality that the individual can determine.

A capture from 2018 that I was asked to take. This was an example of the type of thing that is not my taste. This isn’t what I do. But a family member of this young man wanted a photo and this young man wanted it without a shirt and sans smile. It forced me to convey a side of racing that I don’t like capturing.

There is an aspect of some contemporary art that takes this idea of a universal aesthetic and turns it on its head. But even that has different levels of ability and quality of message. The materials selected for a piece of art often will determine the emotion or message it conveys.

I am a true believer that art can be found everywhere if you are open to experiencing it. And as art is everywhere, so is the beauty that accompanies it. Beauty is often thought of as a subjective term or property. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” is the axiom.

Beauty is as constant as truth and good. An ultimate, something is the truth, it is good. These are often expressed as absolutes. One’s perspective can alter what we perceive as good and what is truth. Ultimately, it can be argued, there is only one truth, an ultimate good and I would argue one standard for beauty. What changes is us, what perspective we bring.

And just as we strive to be truthful and to do what is good, we should strive to bring beauty to everything we do.

Welcome Back

Hello again, it has been awhile since I last posted on this site. I have decided to begin using this again because I have a couple of items in the works that having a personal website will be beneficial.

First off I have a trip planned that I am going to be blogging about and that is exactly what this site has been set up to do.

Secondly I have some photo work that I will want to have available on the web and again this is probably the most convenient format for that also.

So no real post just yet, more of a space holder, divider for keeping track of old posts and allowing me to get familiar with the workings of the site again.

Greg