Monday, November 16, 2020

Winter Doldrums or Brief Hiatus?

Acura Leaves Team Penske Next Season
ow all the major North American racing series have wrapped up their seasons and the 12 Hours of Sebring just concluded the wackiest year in memory for major motorsports series in America. Sadly I couldn't shoot at Sebring this month but next March is a possibility since it fits into my teaching calendar better. I have photographer friends who were in Florida for Sebring so I just enjoyed their photos and the television coverage of this year's delayed IMSA sports car classic. Ironically, Sebring was the last major United States race of 2020 and was one of the first races postponed this year by the coronavirus. It was great to see long-time Penske Indycar driver Helio Castroneves finally win a season championship, even though it was in sports cars. He'll be back in Indycar next year with Meyer Shank Racing for six races including the Indy 500 to go after that elusive fourth 500 win which would elevate Helio to legendary status along with AJ Foyt, Al Unser, Sr. and Rick Mears.

Mazda finally won an endurance race 
I am working on scheduling race assignments for next year which might include the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona at the end of January. That would be an awesome start for 2021 and it would be my fourth Rolex since 2014. Given how virus cases are spiking across the country right now, I must say I'm a little skeptical that the Rolex will be held without restrictions on fans, media or both. Shooting at Daytona would mean a short hiatus for me from racing which I would dearly love, but like seemingly everything else these days, planning must remain flexible so I won't be booking any flights or hotel rooms anytime soon. Watching Mazda win at Sebring over the weekend was satisfying since the marque has consistently had beautiful machines since joining the prototype ranks in 2014, which was ironically the first year I shot the Rolex 24. Even though I'm personally a Honda/Acura guy, I've had several of my Mazda prototype photos used in Autosport Japan magazine so they hold a special place in my heart.

Will Tony Kanaan return to the 500  in 2021?
I have three main goals for my 2021 racing photography. First, shoot the Indy 500 again. To do so, I need a team or media assignment and I will be in hot pursuit of that the next few months. Second, I must get back to the 24 Hours of LeMans, preferably as a credentialed photographer, but that will take some work. Absent credentials, if travel to Europe is allowed, then I will go as a spectator anyway as I know plenty of places where I can still get photos of this epic event. On top of that, I have friends in France now that I'm dying to see again. Third, I'd like to continue my relationship with the ARCA Menards Series in support of their marketing efforts and hope to do more than the one race I got to shoot this year

LeMans is calling with echoes of 2017

I have other photography goals for next year, including doing more assignments for Speedway Illustrated magazine and promoter Track Enterprises that I hope will involve dirt track races in USAC or other open wheel series. Of the seven races I shot this year, four were on dirt tracks and I loved them. They took me back to when I first started shooting races but more importantly, they reminded me of how my love of racing was originally sparked by my Grandpa Jay Shue at the fairgrounds track in Warsaw, Indiana before I was even in kindergarten.

My other photography goals involve branching out into other ventures. I've already put some of those into place by contributing stock photos to Adobe Stock, setting up a retail store on my Alleygroup website, and creating artistic content for sale on the website Fine Art America. Along with my photo work, I have a non-fiction book that I've been working on especially hard during this pandemic that I should have more announcements about very soon. If you are a regular reader of this blog and would like to among the first to get those announcements, I am starting to build an email list so please let me know if you'd like to be added to the list. Until next time, please visit the store on my website and order some unique photo products - just in time for Christmas! Thanks!