All photos courtesy Cora Veltman

Photo gallery of the month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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NBCSN production assistant and @IndyCarOnNBC social media manager Cora Veltman spent the entire month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, chronicling all the action and getting some great photos.

That included practice days, qualifying, the INDYCAR Grand Prix, Carb Day, Legends Day and, of course, the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500, the Greatest Spectacle In Racing.

We’ve created a photo gallery featuring some of the best work during the month from Veltman. We hope you enjoy it:

 

1. Fans flock from all over the world to come to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. You’ll meet people that have been coming to the race every year of their life and fans that are experiencing it for the first time.

 

2. Andretti Autosport’s No. 25 Driven to Save Lives entry piloted by Stefan Wilson rolls out of the garages for Indy 500 practice. Surrendering his seat in last year’s 500 to Fernando Alonso, Wilson had a lot of anticipation for this year’s race. In the closing laps, Wilson was within striking distance for the win, but the gamble on fuel strategy did not pay off. Pulling into the pits with 4 laps to go, Wilson and crew would finish 15th.

 

3. U.S. Vice President and former Governor of Indiana Mike Pence stopped by the Speedway to check out practice in the weeks leading up to the 500.

 

4. A big talking point for this year’s qualifying weekend, IndyCar series regular James Hinchcliffe failed to make the field for the 102nd running of the Indy500. After conferring with his sponsors and team members, it was decided that Hinchcliffe would sit this year out instead of buying out another competitor’s ride.

 

5. Albeit disappointed, Hinchcliffe (center) spent the remainder of the month trackside supporting his fellow drivers. Mario Andretti (left) and Alexander Rossi (right) chat on the pit lane during Pole Day.

 

6. Indianapolis native Ed Carpenter and team had been quick all month leading up to qualifications. After making the fast nine on Bump Day, many Hoosiers were rooting for the hometown hero to clinch his third career pole at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway the following day – and they were not disappointed.

 

7. An exciting shootout for the front row came down to the last few qualifiers. Team owner/ driver Ed Carpenter brought the fans to their feet with a 229.618 mph four-lap average and won the pole. He was joined by Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud in the middle of the front row and eventual 500 winner Will Power to the outside.

 

8. A team to watch this month was A.J. Foyt Racing. IndyCar veteran and fan favorite Tony Kanaan gives rookie teammate Matteus Leist a warm hug before getting in the car. They would qualify 10th (Kanaan) and 11th (Leist).

 

9. Carb day is always a party in Indianapolis. Part of the Speedway’s ‘Fashion Friday’ fans are encouraged to sport their best checkerboard attire.

 

10. Going into this month, Andretti Autosport driver Patricio O’Ward was the points leader for the Indy Lights series. After a frustrating finish early in the month on the IMS road course, he was eager to make up ground for the Carb Day Freedom 100.

 

11. After an exciting Freedom 100, Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta found himself in Victory Lane. “I am just so happy to win here in Indy,” he said.

 

12. The first act of the Carb night concert, Blues Traveler, jammed on stage after the racing was done for the day.

 

13. Headliner Train rocked out for thousands of fans on Carb Night. No matter the heat or the humidity, thousands came to party.

 

14. In the days leading up to the 500, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team co-owner Sam Schmidt flew the colors of another team close to his heart, the NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights.

 

15. An added attraction during 500 weekend, the Historic Racing Exhibition hosted by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, allows fans to see notable cars of yesteryear turn laps around the track. This time 76 cars from every era participated.

 

16. A tradition after driver introductions, the Indy500 class of 2018 gathers on the start/finish line.

 

17. In her last professional race, Danica Patrick was one of several drivers involved in incidents, ending her 500 bid to win with a wreck in the exit of Turn 2. “Today was real disappointing,” a disappointed Patrick said. “It is not what you want for your last race. … I am very grateful to everyone that let me try to finish this up like I wanted.”

 

18. The first Australian to win the Indianapolis 500, Will Power, let out a scream over the radio after crossing the Yard of Bricks for the last time. “I was wondering if I would ever win it,” he said afterward.

 

19. ‘The Capitan,’ Roger Penske, looks on from the pits in the closing laps of the 500. His win with Will Power marks a record-extending 17th for Team Penske.

 

20. A gracious champion, Will Power sits in Victory Lane during the post-race pageantry. “Man, I just can’t believe it,” he said, “I can not describe it. I feel like collapsing and I want to cry.”

Indy 500 analyst role part of looking forward for Danica Patrick

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It’s been 10 months since Danica Patrick last competed in an auto racing event and she is completely fine with that.

Patrick was last seen in a cockpit in last May’s Indianapolis 500, part of her mini-retirement tour from racing that also included a run in the Daytona 500.

Now she’ll be back at the track, serving as an analyst for NBC’s broadcast of the 103rd Indy 500 on May 26.

It will be an interlude to her post-racing career.

“I really don’t miss racing,” Patrick said during a teleconference Wednesday.  “I’m really happy. I selfishly set out (with) the intention I wanted to travel a lot. I’ve definitely done that. Also working on my other businesses.”

Without racing, Patrick is able to look over her “Warrior” clothing line and her Somnium wine. She’s also been a host of ESPN’s Espy Awards show.

“I’m not a look-back kind of person, I’m a look-forward (person),” Patrick said. “This is something that’s part of looking forward. This is something totally new and different for me. It’s coming at a place where I have a lot of history, but it hasn’t been my job, which is why I’m going to work really hard to make sure I’m ready, like anything else I do that’s different.

Since retiring, Patrick said she watches racing “when I can.”

“I’m not going to lie, I’m happy doing what I’m doing,” Patrick said. “It’s allowed me new opportunities like this.”

This won’t be the first time Patrick has served in an analyst role for a race. She did the same for some Xfinity Series race broadcasts in the last few years of her NASCAR career.

“It’s very good to have had that experience,” Patrick said. “Obviously I was giving my driving experience sort of perspective and that insight, which is something I’m going to be doing again. But it was a guest spot.

“This is firm and established, part of a small team of two with Mike (Tirico) and I. I think there’s going to be a lot more preparation involved, I’m going to need to know a lot more information.”

Patrick said there will be one difference in her Indy 500 experience this year compared to the eight times she competed in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

“I didn’t purposely look at the buildup of the day,” Patrick said. “I didn’t want to see the fans rolling in, all the pomp and circumstance. I really liked to keep it quiet. I wanted to just walk out there and have it be the event, not let myself get built up too much in my head with nerves, just the platform, the iconic event that it was, the millions of people. I just wanted to stay focused and go do it.

“This time, I’m sure I will see the buildup. I’m sure I’ll see the place fill in and turn from a quiet, peaceful, magical place, (and) at the shot of a cannon it’s going to start unraveling. That will be a cool perspective for me that I purposely haven’t really watched closely.”

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