Through Our Lenses: Best Of 2016 - Volume 2

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As we begin to look toward the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season, our INDYCAR Digital Media and Photography groups wanted to give one last holiday present. Earlier this month, we challenged each of our photography staff to provide a few favorite images they captured from this past year, along with a few words on each image.

In Friday's Volume 1, we started with our photographers' favorite images from the first half of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. Today, we bring you Volume 2 covering the second half of 2016, beginning with the return to Road America. Enjoy!

Photographer: Shawn Gritzmacher (Editor's Choice)
We had this feeling the return to Road America would be welcomed. But ... this crowd ... whoa! Road America was bursting at the seams with fans and the vibe in the paddock was something special. It makes us wonder if they came close to selling out of bratwursts that weekend.

Tony Kanaan

Photographer: Joe Skibinski
Returning to Road America was a race that most people were looking forward to. It is a fun track to shoot and Will Power celebrated in victory circle with his leap, a move none of us were expecting. Shooting through the confetti is always a challenging but fun shot to get -- if you get it just right.

Will Power

Photographer: Shawn Gritzmacher
This was a lucky case of right place, right time. When you shoot through confetti, you never know what you’re going to get. Fortunately in Iowa, the stars parted and I was able to capture Josef Newgarden’s raw emotion after emerging from the car. I had never seen such emotion from the racer before. Josef could not remove his gloves on his own due to his injuries suffered in Texas and, as his crew removed his gloves for him, I knew we were in for something special.

Josef Newgarden

Photographer: Shawn Gritzmacher (Editor's Choice)
Canadian INDYCAR fans are passionate about the sport, especially when they have a fellow Canadian to root for. They were treated to a fantastic weekend of racing across the board.

Honda Indy Toronto

Photographer: Joe Skibinski (Editor's Choice)
One of Toronto's signature corners is Turn 1 at the Princes' Gate, part of Exhibition Place on the shores of Lake Ontario just west of downtown Toronto. If you ever get the chance to walk around this monument, it is an absolute must-do. While only on a part-time Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, 2015 Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot showed he was more than capable of mixing it up with the kings of INDYCAR.

Spencer Pigot

Photographer: Shawn Gritzmacher (Editor's Choice)
Perhaps one of the best portrait shots of James Hinchcliffe in 2016. He talks about having never missed a race in Toronto in his entire life, and how he met his idol, Greg Moore, at Toronto after waiting for hours. During this year's autograph session, you can just read his eyes how he was once the kid asking for autographs and now he's the one being asked. The pride of being Canadian, driving in Toronto, with the eyes of a nation on him. That smile says it all.

James Hinchcliffe

Photographer: Joe Skibinski
People may not realize just how close Simon Pagenaud came to possibly stepping out of the car at Mid-Ohio. He was in terrible pain with back spasms. However, with the way Simon drove at Mid-Ohio, it was clear that he would eventually become the 2016 champion. He put on a clinic. He was not afraid to bump his own teammate; he wanted and earned that win.

Simon Pagenaud

Photographer: Chris Jones (Editor's Choice)
Pocono was a somber weekend for many of us in motorsports. One year ago, we lost our friend, Justin Wilson. Everyone associated with that weekend's race made sure Justin wasn't forgotten that weekend -- from Union Jack flags at every pit stand to the Justin Wilson socks worn by so many.

Justin Wilson

Photographer: Chris Owens (Editor's Choice)
The loss of popular sprint car driver and three-time Indy 500 starter Bryan Clauson a few weeks before the Pocono race also cast a shadow over the weekend. The entire field drove with heavy hearts and Clauson's emblem on their cars. Conor Daly, Clauson's Indy 500 teammate at Dale Coyne Racing, had the "BC Forever" emblem on his sidepod and changed his car number to 88 -- the number driven by Bryan in the 100th Indianapolis 500. It has been said Bryan would have liked to drive an Indy car race at Pocono. Something tells us he would have been flat on the throttle the second time by, with a huge grin on his face.

Bryan Clauson

Photographer: Bret Kelley (Editor's Choice)
There's something about the start or restart of a Verizon IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway. It's almost like there's a moment where drivers turn the race into a video game as they barrel into Turn 1 at 230-plus mph. For this year's start, pole sitter Mikhail Aleshin led the freight train, but the field was four- and five-wide behind him, which left everyone breathless.

Mikhail Aleshin

Photographer: Chris Owens (Editor's Choice)
Texas Motor Speedway is famous for several things, one a slight bump between Turns 1-2. With the cars riding so low to the ground, the titanium skid plates on the undertray often produce a stream of sparks from the car. You've gotta be quick to capture a shot like this from James Hinchcliffe's car, and you need to know where that bump is.

James Hinchcliffe

Photographer: Chris Jones (Editor's Choice)
How many times have we seen Indy car races won by mere thousandths of a second? And why do several occur at Texas Motor Speedway? No matter, we love 'em. When Graham Rahal edged out James Hinchcliffe to take the win, wow! You had to feel for Hinch for leading most of the laps, but at the same time, you also had to feel good for Graham after letting the 2012 race at Texas slip through his fingers.

Graham Rahal

Photographer: Chris Owens
I really love this photo of Scott Dixon, I like the way colors complement each other. It was near the end of the season and I wanted to try new things, so I shot in between the famous blue fencing at Watkins Glen. It’s a nice photo; sometimes what you try just works.

Scott Dixon

Photographer: Joe Skibinski
After capturing that magic moment when Alexander Rossi crossed the yard of bricks to win the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, everyone was in shock of what had just happened. Fast forward four months, as I attended the Constitution Day parade in Rossi's hometown Nevada City, Calif., a small town about an hour northeast of Sacramento. It was one of my favorite experiences from the 2016 season, getting to see every person line the streets to welcome Rossi back home for the first time after he won the historic race.

Alexander Rossi

Photographer: Richard Dowdy
A casual Will Power returns to his motorhome after qualifying fourth at the end-of-season race at Sonoma. His wife, Liz, about five months pregnant with their first child in this shot, seems a bit nervous, clinging to her husband while juggling two drink bottles, a phone and a roll of Scotch tape. No idea why she has the tape.

Will Power

Photographer: Shawn Gritzmacher
Racing on Saturn: In photography, light is always your most critical element. At Sonoma Raceway, the light is always beautiful, but harsh. Sometimes that contrast illustrates things not seen so obviously, such as the lines of rubber laid down on the track.

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Photographer: Richard Dowdy
Team Penske driver Simon Pagenaud won five races in 2016, including the finale at Sonoma Raceway, thereby capturing his first INDYCAR championship, while teammate Will Power finished second. Here, Pagenaud is is speeding his way to the top of the time chart in first-day practice.

(Editor note: Eagle-eye fans might will notice the fuel port is on the wrong side of the car for use at Sonoma. Sure enough, Simon drove this car down the Embarcadero in San Francisco for a media promotion prior to Sonoma track activity and during Friday's practice sessions with the fuel port on driver's right -- the configuration used in the previous race at Watkins Glen. Team Penske swapped the port to driver's left prior to Saturday's qualifications.)

Simon Pagenaud

Photographer: Richard Dowdy
Post-race blues: a dejected Ryan Hunter-Reay debriefs with his chief engineer, Ray Gosselin, following his fourth-place finish at Sonoma. It was a long season for the entire Andretti Autosport organization, but something tells me they're going to bounce back in 2017 with a vengeance.

Ryan Hunter-Reay

From the fans