Friday, July 25, 2008

Yesterday USAC - Tomorrow NASCAR Hits the Bricks

Last night I got to go back to my roots again to shoot the USAC midget and Silver Crown series races at O'Reilly Raceway Park. The big cars are back and boy are they sweet, although they do look cumbersome compared to the midgets. One of the worst decisions USAC ever made was to try to introduce a long track car to replace the traditional Silver Crown vehicles. These are the closest race cars around to the heritage of the old champ cars that ran at Indianapolis in the roadster days. Plus the big boys from NASCAR were in town to have a fun night at ORP, with Carl Edwards there as a midget car owner, Kasey Kahne as an owner-driver of a midget, and Ryan Newman piloting a Silver Crown car. Tony Stewart was there too with his family and getting kudos for the charity work of his foundation with police dogs. I also saw Johnny Benson, and of course Billy Boat, former IRL driver, crewing for his son Chad, who unfortunately had a bad night.

It was a great opportunity for me to do some more work with flash photography and night racing, which has proven to be tricky. SOme guys are pushing all the way to 3200 ISO but adding "portable daylight" gives the pix a crisper look with more detail in my opinion. Now that I have a battery pack, I don't have to worry as much about carrying extra batteries or having the flash crap out in the middle of something. Another photo challenge.

So tomorrow it's back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where NASCAR brings the new car for the first time, and only a handful of teams have even tested the "COT". Little E was here for the Goodyear test a few weeks ago so he could have an advantage along with the other teams that came. But the real guys to watch are going to be Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart. Kyle because he's been winning everything in sight and loves to manhandle a loose race car, and Stewart because, well he's Tony and this place is home. He's won the Brickyard twice now and he can handle a loose car as well as anyone, especially at Indy where he's probably got more laps than anyone. I'll be back with more once I finish my assignments at IMS for American Motor Journal but in the meantime, click on the following photo slideshow to look at a few pix from last night at ORP. Enjoy!

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