Our May Editor’s Note

Groundwork: As the city prepares for the annual month of May festivities that surrounds the Indianapolis 500, I wonder: Do we care about the sport or the spectacle?
Emma Davies-Dixon has nice shoes. I know this because during a break in shooting the cover of this issue, our digital editor sent me a text asking for a cellphone pic of her footwear—behind-the-scenes stuff for our social media accounts and website. “Is there any way?” he texted. “Without being creepy?” There wasn’t.

“Emma,” I said, “I know this sounds creepy …” and, as those words came out of my mouth and I explained my request, the wife of four-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon looked at me like I drove a windowless van filled with candy. Thankfully, that uncertainty was momentary. With her blessing, I snapped a few pictures, and EDD and I became BFFs after the awkwardness had passed.

But as I crouched on the ground for a shot of the shoes, I caught a glimpse of Scott, an all-time great, standing apart from the crowd that had gathered to watch me make a fool of myself. I wondered if I wasn’t unintentionally illustrating one of the themes from the story (p. 76) that inspired the photo shoot in the first place: Do we care about the sport or the spectacle?

Much to the chagrin of traditionalists, marketing the 500 and the sport takes an all-of-the-above approach, which includes embracing the drivers and their significant others as reality stars. After meeting Scott and Emma—who were gracious, warm, and fun throughout our morning-long ordeal at Chip Ganassi Racing—I came away with a good story and a favorite driver. Both are possible.