Tuesday, September 4, 2007

More Tales from the -ville: US Nationals NHRA

Hello again folks. Been away and haven't kept up with the updates because I've had to go back to my regular life away from the race track and do all the things that normal people do on the weekends but which traveling precluded. Until this past weekend...

And a glorious weekend it was to be a race fan in Indy. The Mac Tools NHRA US Nationals were in town and after the multiple rain delays at their last race, I'm sure the sanctioning people were more than overjoyed with the conditions. Drivers probably were not though, as the sun was unrelenting and the right lane seemed to take the brunt of it Monday as car after car spun tires and smoked themselves to the sidelines. Perfect late summer weather. Blue skies Saturday through Monday - never had to change my camera settings except for the Saturday night qualifying.

I had an experience like no other in my life as a racing photographer. I got there Saturday afternoon during the first nitro qualifying session and went out by the retaining wall and I'm thinking I'm ready for this - got my earplugs and my gun muffs, and I've been up close to race cars before, so what's the big deal, right? The first top fuel pass almost blew me off my feet and my thinking immediately changed. Surely the loudest racing I've ever been involved in but what took me by surprise was the shock wave as the cars blasted off the line past me. Looking through the camera, the air seemed to liquefy from the heat and vibration as the cars passed, and my insides felt like they were being pulverized. I felt beat up Sunday morning, but I was happy with the way I adapted and was extremely pleased with the work I did for American Motor Journal. I knew several of the photographers from Indy and other races already, and the new ones I met were quick to tease me about being an NHRA "virgin". So I've been duly violated and can see how people get hooked on that form of racing.

This weekend I'm back on the road to Chicagoland and the ARCA/IRL weekend so the roundy-rounders will have my attention as rookie and rising star Michael McDowell tries to chase down Frank Kimmel for the ARCA title and Dario tries to hang on to a slim lead for the IRL title. As the IRL gang has proven the last few weeks, anything can happen. Let's keep the shiny side up this weekend, however.

See you at the track!


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