Open wheels and a vision of speed in colorful art
This is our second look at the motorsport art by Randy Owens. With the 103rd Indy 500 imminent at the time of this writing, we’re looking exclusively at his Indy car art this time. It encompasses the CART, IRL, ChampCar and the current Indycar generations. If you missed the first review, click here.
Mr. Owens recently updated his website with new Indy art as serigraphs and some giclee versions of previously released but sold-out work. Serigraphs are created with silkscreens and can have a wide number of individually applied colors. Giclees are high resolution digital reproductions of original artwork. Giclees are much less expensive and often times somewhat smaller in size than the original pieces. Still very, very collectible.
The CART years
Many folks feel that the real “golden age” of Indy cars was during the reign of CART as a sanctioning body. At the time, CART had multiple chassis types from Lola, Reynard, Eagle, Penske and March. Multiple engine manufacturers were also involved, including Ford, Chevrolet, Honda and Mercedes. Throw in a tire war between Firestone and Goodyear too. This all led to huge sponsor deals and huge budgets (although smallish by F1 standards). At left is The Quick and the Red. That’s Jimmy Vasser about to win at the 1998 Long Beach GP while leading Mark Blundell and a Dan Gurney Eagle following.
The IRL years
Often viewed as the darkest years of Indy car when CART went bankrupt and the series separated into two series (IRL and ChampCar). This divided the teams and star drivers into two warring camps. As a result, the Indy 500 was off-limits to the cars of ChampCar. Still, the great race went on.
Of note was that Team Penske and Ganassi Racing landed in the camp of the IRL. Helio Castro-Neves was able to rack up his first win of 3 for Roger Penske (right).
CART was purchased by Gerry Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven. It was renamed ChampCar. Oddly, that name was owned and leased to ChampCar by Tony George and his family-run organization, the chief competitor to ChampCar! The series ran a spec motor by Cosworth and ran primarily Lola chassises with a few Reynards in the mix. By the time those chassises were replaced by a Panoz chassis, the series was on its last legs and finally merged with the IRL to become Indycar.
The team run by Carl Haas and Paul Newman would be the dominant force in ChampCar and won several championships with Sebastien Bourdais. On the left Bourdais leads Robert Doornbas and Will Power at the short-lived San Jose race in his Panoz DP01.
The current generation of Indy cars stems from the unification of the two warring series’. After a time using the IRL Dallara chassis with Honda engines, a new Dallara DW12 was conceived and Chevrolet joined Honda as an engine supplier. A new powerhouse team formed by Michael Andretti joined Penske and Ganassi. It has become a multiple Indy 500 winner. On the right, Andretti’s Ryan Hunter-Reay wins his first Indy 500 by mere feet from Mr. Castro-Neves. At the top of the page is the winning Andretti car of Alexander Rossi, who won on this first attempt after leaving an uncompetitive F1 team. Rossi has since become a star of Indycar with his stirring drives always at the ragged edge of crashing – or winning. He’s done a bit of both but is definitely one of the many stars of Indycar going forward.
A gallery of motorsport art by Randy Owens -Indy cars
Indy cars have gone through a long period of both glory and darkness. However it is very much a series on the way back up. Randy Owens has captured the speed and drama of the most varied series of races currently running with a vision of speed and color second to none. If anyone has captured the history of a racing series, Mr. Owens has done it beautifully. His works are well worth collecting and so allowing the forming your own visual history of open wheel racing in America at the top level.