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Behind the Bricks: Petals to the metal

Behind the Bricks: Flowers

IMS Horticulturist Abby Head joins Daybreak for a look at what goes into selecting the flowers that decorate the track and grounds

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — In a place famed for bricks, steel, pavement, and speed, one person manages the task of making sure the scene is also warm and bright.

Abby Head is the horticulturist at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the star of the new episode of Behind the Bricks.

“That’s kind of what I aim to do. Soften some of those hard edges and really provide some color to the black and silver background that we really have a big space for,” Head told us during a visit to WISH-TV’s Daybreak.

Head’s task is to add color and texture to the track through its many events and seasons. Her work gets a worldwide television audience twice in May, first during the Sonsio Grand Prix, then again two weeks later for the Indianapolis 500. Then, in July, the colorful trackside trimmings get attention again during the Brickyard 400.

“I definitely take a look at the (race) logos every time, and I try my best to find a color scheme or a color palette that’s going to match or complement that logo,” she told our viewers. “Knowing that I’m putting them up on the victory podium, which is a very black heat-filled place, and knowing that we need to do things that are going to do well and be tough in those situations. And right under the glare of the national spotlight as well!”

Much like the racers her work celebrates, Head admits to some race-day jitters.

“Definitely! Always. I’m up there daily to make sure that we are looking good, pruning off dead leaves or flowers here and there. I want to put out a good display any time that cameras are rolling,” she said.

The podcast episode takes viewers and listeners on a tour of the greenhouse in Hamilton County where most of the flowers are grown before their trip to the track. We also ride up the checkered flag-covered car lift that takes the Indy 500 winner from Victory Lane to the winner’s podium.

To watch it all, visit any of the IMS social media channels – or listen ‘on the go’ through the All Indiana Podcast Network.

Behind the Bricks: Podium flowers