Sunday, May 4, 2014

Talladega Baby!

As they like to say in Bama, "This is Talladega"
So far, so good. The trip south has gone off without a hitch with a near record drive time on Friday, perfect weather for the weekend, and I got four pictures moved by AP yesterday. Today is the Aaron's 499 and I will be in Turn 1 at ground level for the first time and am told I should have a view of the start-finish line. Shooting in the Turn 4 tower yesterday for the Nationwide race was fruitful and I am looking forward to another good day here at Dega. To paraphrase an old Saturday Night Live line:  "Talladega has been very, very good to me." 

Elliott Sadler (11)  took the Nationwide win
Today I will just concentrate on doing my job, which is to make pictures that help AP tell the story of the event. Our friend Dave Martin is no longer with us after suffering a heart attack shooting a college bowl game this past New Year's Eve, but he is here in spirit and we are all thinking about him. There's already been conversation about "Mullet-isms" and not having him around this year to engage in the story telling he was known for has been strange. But as I have said before, I learned a lot from Dave and will try my best to live up to his legacy today. His pet phrase and pep talk was to go "make some f-ing pictures" and that sentiment underlies everything we do here. At our photo meeting this morning, we were encouraged to go make the best pictures of our lives and not to "get beat" by the competition. High standards indeed, but the ingredients and experience are here to make that a reality.

The Nationwide race had it's "Big One" Saturday in Turn 4
Anyone who follows NASCAR knows that Talladega is known for three- and four-wide pack racing which almost always seems to lead to "The Big One" where a wad of race cars ends up in the wall. Yesterday's Nationwide race was no different and I was on it from the beginning as they entered Turn 3. As they came out from behind the wall of motor homes in front of me, I loosened up my framing, and in hindsight I was probably too loose. Consider it a lesson learned for today...

Once I head back to Indy tonight, my crazy month of May will shift gears and focus on Indycar racing for the rest of the month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Being at Talladega is a fantastic way to start off the month and I know that whatever has gone on before today, there is one certainty:  the best is yet to come.

The Nationwide race got tight and they commenced to wreckin'

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