Sunday, June 30, 2019

Ty Majeski Continues Hot Streak With Chicagoland ARCA Win

Ty Majeski is looking unstoppable for Chad Bryant Racing
One of the favorites going into last week's  ARCA Bounty 150 at Chicagoland Speedway was Ty Majeski and he did not disappoint, leading the vast majority of the 100 lap race and stretching his lead seemingly at will when he was out in front. It was Ty's third win in four ARCA races this season and it could very well have been his fourth in a row but for a half a gallon of gas he needed at Michigan which cost him that race in early June. So now he's finished first at Charlotte and Pocono, second at Michigan and first at Chicagoland out of 5 starts in the 2019 ARCA season. While Michael Self is the overall points leader based his consistency over the first 12 races this year and three wins, this hot streak by Majeski has been incredibly impressive. I hope we see more of Ty this year!

Weather looked threatening  before the race but didn't materialize
This was the seventh weekend in a row for the ARCA series to be racing somewhere, but it was my 10th weekend in a row overall when you throw in the Indycar Grand Prix and the Indy 500 I worked in May. During this stretch, it seems like weather has been an issue at every race and Chicagoland was no different as severe weather in the area forced a delay of about an hour as the stands had to be cleared just as the grid was being formed. I was planning to start my race in the flagstand again as I knew we would have a guest flagger from the race sponsor Bounty and I wanted to shoot from the outside wall for the first half of the race. As the weather warnings rolled in prior to the start, I sat at a picnic table with the mother and other family members of ARCA driver Tim Richmond and had some very nice conversations as we killed time while the weather front blew through. I had never met them before so it was fun getting to know them and keeping them informed as updates from race control came in over my radio headset.

Flagstand photos are 
I love having access to race control and the nose cancelling headphones help me concentrate on my shooting during the race. I typically follow a "10 laps and move" strategy at races and this race started off with even more location changes as early cautions gave me the time to move. The race started and there was a caution almost immediately so I left the flagstand and headed down to Turn 4 to catch the restart. By lap 20 I was already in the third turn so I decided to walk the backstretch road opposite the direction of race traffic to make my way back to the tunnel to the infield near Turn 1. As a result, I walked an entire lap around the outside of the track during the race and racked up another big night on Google Fit with over 19,600 steps. After the heat of the early part of the day, the weather front that blew through cooled things off quite a bit and I could feel myself getting a second wind as the race wound down. I made it around to the shooting holes in Turn 1 at about lap 50 and then finally got into the pits with about 35 laps to go. I always hope to be able to catch at least one pit stop by the race leader but that often comes down to luck and timing so I decided to take what I could, shoot some side by side racing along the frontstretch and get ready for the checkered flag and victory lane. This was a race where I was really happy with most everything I shot, which isn't usually the case, since I am quite self critical about my photos. That is especially true with night racing as I feel I am always walking a tightrope between high ISO (but not too high to be grainy) and underexposure (but not too dark) throughout a race. I felt like I struck a good balance on this night but you can be the judge of that (if you want to see a larger gallery from the race, then please click here.)

Ty Majeski has been a bright spot for Chad Bryant Racing this season
This run of 10 straight race weekends for me has been amazing and I've never experienced this before. I have loved every minute of it, except for perhaps the visit from Officer friendly in Shelby, North Carolina on my way to Charlotte last month. I have now worked 11 of the 12 ARCA races this season and the only one I missed was just a few weeks after my cancer surgery in February. I am feeling stronger every week and looking forward to working the remaining eight ARCA races this season. We have the 4th of July weekend off from racing but the next three weeks in July are booked at Elko (Minnesota) then Iowa Speedway (with Indycar) and then back to Pocono. By Labor Day weekend, the two dirt races on ARCA's schedule will be completed and  there will only be three races left . This has been a whirlwind year in so many respects but I am already planning ahead to next year when I will go back to Le Mans again after missing the 24 Hours in 2018 and 2019. This year has been huge and I am really excited to see what the future holds!

If anyone out there thinks we just go hang out at the racetrack and snap a few photos, then please come follow me around on one of my 17 hour workdays with ARCA. You gotta love it or you wouldn't do it, and I love it. Until next time, be sure to check the ARCA website for more photos and stories about some of the best young driving talent in stock car racing. See youthere!

ARCA restarts can be kind of crazy as the field rushes by the fence
Michael Self won another pole in the group qualifying session during the heat of the day
Trouble struck early and often at Chicagoland; contact put Jason Miles out early
Bret Holnes finished a strong third and is looking like he'll be a race winner soon
This means you, Jay Alley! Ask me what this is about. 

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