Fans: Day 36
Fans: Day 37
This photo was not actually taken at a race track, but it was taken during Indy 500 related activities in 2010. I had gone to the Convention Center downtown to pick up a 500 Festival Mini Marathon packet for a friend and noticed Danica's GoDaddy show car being lovingly admired by this young man. As I shot a few frames, I could see he was talking to himself as he first felt the Firestone tires, then the sidepod of the car and then finally looked inside the cockpit. I have wondered what he was telling himself that day, but I'll bet he's been to the 500 since then!
Fans: Day 38
Fans: Day 39
I took this photo of a young boy in an autograph-covered T-shirt in 2012 at the ARCA race at Winchester Speedway during the pre-race autograph session. He was walking down the front stretch with his father and watching the crowd go from driver to driver. The T-shirt grabbed me at first but then I noticed he had a die cast race car in his right hand which made the picture for me. One of the things that ARCA does best is get fans up close and personal with their drivers during these autograph sessions, and I am always on the lookout for photos featuring kids like this one. I was shooting for ARCA that race weekend and I have often wondered if this boy's parents bought a copy of this photo from the ARCA website as a keepsake to go along with the autographs and hero cards this young man collected that day.
Kids playing with race cars at race tracks is a common scene but I like this photo because it was both a boy and a girl having an imaginary race on the asphalt behind pit lane at Indianapolis during 500 practice in May 2013. I'm sure they had just purchased their Indycar die cast cars and with the sounds of practice all around them at the Speedway, they did what comes naturally for kids: they played.
Fans: Day 41
Fans: Day 42
My final photo in my "Fans" theme, and in my 42 Day Challenge, is also from the ARCA weekend at Winchester in 2012. The message on his T-shirt says it all for those of us here in USAC country: "I'm gonna be a non wing sprint car driver." He's clutching hero cards from ARCA drivers in both hands and has started to get some autographs on his T-shirt, and I would bet that Winchester weekend was not his first race. Who knows? Maybe he will follow in the footsteps of guys like Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson, Ryan Newman, Bryan Clauson and so many others who have come from USAC and gone on to become big time race car drivers. If that does happen, I can see the day when he is telling his grandchildren "I remember being at Winchester back in 2012..." and you heard it here first. I got hooked on racing at about his age, so I suppose it's only natural that I would be drawn to kids like this at races who remind me of how exciting that was. It still is just as exciting and even though I'm just a photographer, I live for days like this at the racetrack where I can get that rush of excitement, smell the race fuel exhaust and hot tires, and do what I do: make some pictures.