Thursday, February 22, 2007

USAC Dirt Racing

USAC Dirt Racing
Originally uploaded by indyjay42.
Back in the 90's, I shot a lot of different kinds of racing and one of my goals for this blog is to scan and resurrect as many of those old film based images as possible to get them out for people to see. Many of my favorite drivers are guys from those days - at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, or Duquoin, or Indianapolis Raceway Park. The cars still look about the same, at least in the alternate series for older silver crown cars, and sprints and midgets haven't changed much either. This one is Jeff Swindell slideways at the Fairgrounds in Indy in 91 or 92 in a car whose sponsor has been on sprints for years with many famous drivers: Terre Haute 1st National Bank.

But there's something special about standing next to the guardrail with the cars close enough you could reach out and touch them, blasting your left eardrum, and using the camera to shield your face from dirt and rocks. Thankfully I was never injured but part of the thrill as a racing photographer is knowing something could happen at any time. The cardinal rule I learned early on was don't ever turn your back on the cars. Of course this limited view of a very small portion of a race track might not be interesting to some people since sitting in the stands and seeing the whole track is nice for that overview as a spectator. But the only way to get any closer to the action is to sit behind the wheel.

I'll take my spot on the guardrail, thank you very much. The best part now with digital photography is you don't have to wonder if you got the picture or not while waiting for the film to be souped. Thank goodness the technology is so advanced now. Anyone want some old Canon film cameras? They make good doorstops nowadays, and maybe someday they will be museum pieces.


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