From Indy 500 to.... soap box derby.

There are not many better segues than going from shooting the world's largest sporting event, the Indianapolis 500, to a tiny soap box derby race held for underprivileged youth. In a city known as "The Capital of Racing," I'm not even sure why I'm surprised.

The 15th Annual Mayor's Cup is a small event, featuring *maybe* 25 youth racers. The race is begun with celebrity rounds, where the Mayor of Indianapolis, Joe Hogsett, and others including firemen, policemen, and former soapbox racers themselves, slide into tiny soapbox derby cars and roll down the hill. The kids, stationed at the finish line, cheer loudly for their elders. 

But after a few celebrity races, it's the kids' turn. They wipe down their cars, replace the wheels, and trek up the hill for the start. They roll their cars into the starting blocks, tuck themselves into tiny derby cars, and wait to hear a start. Then, off they go. 

For some kids, this gets them out of a bad neighborhood for a few hours. For some kids, it becomes their life - going on to win world soapbox derby championships and the like. 

I love big events, the energy is high and the crowds are always exciting. But there is something so innocent and raw about photographing sports at the youth level. Photographing sports at the youth level - the looks on all of their faces, the tears and frustration, and the sportsmanship that some youngsters show - helps me better understand where to look to find those raw, innocent moments at the college and professional levels.

 Terrell Richardson (left), 10, and Tiffany Richardson, 10, socialize before their race at the 15th Annual Mayor's Cup on Saturday, June 3, 2017. The organization that organizes it, Indianapolis Soap Box Derby, aims to get younger, underprivileged children involved in a sport that is very hands-on.

Terrell Richardson (left), 10, and Tiffany Richardson, 10, socialize before their race at the 15th Annual Mayor's Cup on Saturday, June 3, 2017. The organization that organizes it, Indianapolis Soap Box Derby, aims to get younger, underprivileged children involved in a sport that is very hands-on.

 Ashley Lauogh watches the derby car races with her son Cohen, 2, and Myla, 4, at the 15th Annual Mayor's Cup on Saturday, June 3, 2017.

Ashley Lauogh watches the derby car races with her son Cohen, 2, and Myla, 4, at the 15th Annual Mayor's Cup on Saturday, June 3, 2017.

 Johnathan Taylor, 10, eyes the finish line from the top of Wilbur Shaw Derby Hill in Indianapolis on June 3, 2017. Taylor was competing in the 15th Annual Mayor's Cup.

Johnathan Taylor, 10, eyes the finish line from the top of Wilbur Shaw Derby Hill in Indianapolis on June 3, 2017. Taylor was competing in the 15th Annual Mayor's Cup.

 Derby cars fly down the derby hill at the 15th Annual Mayor's Cup on Saturday, June 3, 2017

Derby cars fly down the derby hill at the 15th Annual Mayor's Cup on Saturday, June 3, 2017

 A young driver watches the start of another race while she waits for her own at the 15th Annual Mayor's Cup on Saturday, June 3, 2017.

A young driver watches the start of another race while she waits for her own at the 15th Annual Mayor's Cup on Saturday, June 3, 2017.

 Henry Paul (left) pushes Deputy Mayor David Hampton down the derby hill during the 15th Annual Mayor's Cup on Saturday, June 3, 2017. The first few races of the day are "Celebrity Races" in which elected officials of the community participate in the races.

Henry Paul (left) pushes Deputy Mayor David Hampton down the derby hill during the 15th Annual Mayor's Cup on Saturday, June 3, 2017. The first few races of the day are "Celebrity Races" in which elected officials of the community participate in the races.

 Joseph Flynn (left), 13, shakes his competitor, Geordan Wells', 16, hand after their race at the 15th Annual Mayor's Cup on Saturday, June 3, 2017.

Joseph Flynn (left), 13, shakes his competitor, Geordan Wells', 16, hand after their race at the 15th Annual Mayor's Cup on Saturday, June 3, 2017.