We got the word that we will be working tomorrow, Friday. We will have a Tailgate theme with contests, corn hole games and other activities. Ofc. Jim Luckett will have his Beat the Heat dragster on display along with our show car and a Team Demolition Derby car. The activities tomorrow start at 3:00 p.m. On Sunday, Top Fuel driver TJ Zizzo will be with us and our fans will get a chance to compete against TJ for the best quick reaction time with prizes being awarded. I encourage everyone to come out to the show, stop by our display and say hello. We look forward to talking with everyone and telling them about all the activities of the 2014 season. Please click here for more information on the World of Wheels.
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World of Wheels and More
This morning the Speedway (Chicagoland/Route 66) contacted us and asked us to work the World of Wheels show in Rosemont this weekend. For those not aware of the what the show is, it is probably the best custom car show series in the US. Click on the above link for hours and more information. We are still waiting to hear what day(s) and hours we will be there. When not working I should be able to wander around and get some good images. I do know that Richard and Kyle Petty will be there signing autographs on Friday, 6-8:00 p.m. I would like to be working during that time frame so maybe I would get a chance to talk with Richard. Its been a while since I have had that opportunity. Not that Richard really knows me, its that ever since I was 17, every once in a great while, I have had the honor to have a conversation with him. Several years back, Janet had a good conversation with him at an event that he sponsored at the Speedway. Afterwards, she stated he was really a down to earth, cool guy. I told her there was a reason that I have been a fan of his since I was 13! We were working in the New Hampshire International (now Motor) Speedway Media Center when Tony Stewart donated $1,000,000 to Kyle and his wife Pattie for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. This was the first visit back to New Hampshire for Pattie since Adam's death. We witnessed a very emotional and touching scene between Tony, Kyle and Pattie.
On the NASCAR front, the next several weeks are going to be very interesting as they get back to the short and intermediate tracks. Three of the next four weeks will be at tracks a mile or longer. We should have a pretty good idea if all the new rules to encourage side-by-side racing are working. After that great Daytona 500, if we can follow-up with good intermediate track racing, I can only see good things for Nascar. I am hoping all the testing wasn't for naught and everything works as planned.
On Saturday, GLX Snocross will be running the Don Jackson's - Amsoil Race Day starting at 2:00 p.m. I'm not sure if I will be able to attend due to the World of Wheels show. There should be some great racing because we are in between National events and the sled counts should be up, which always makes for better racing. The weather will be cool with a chance of some light snow. The conditions should be excellent. If you can't make it to the World of Wheels, swing by the Golf Farm on Rt. 12 in Wauconda for some great snocross racing.
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Race & Performance Expo and Rants
I have just posted a few more images from the Race & Performance Expo that was last weekend in St. Charles at the Pheasant Run Mega Center. Besides seeing some really nice cars, I interacted with representatives from several of the local short tracks. After my schedule is firmed up from Route 66, Phil Rider has extended an invitation to shoot at the Grundy County Speedway. I really want to shoot the open wheel Saturday program. I spoke with representatives of the Sycamore Speedway. They have a track photographer who has exclusive rights to all the photography and any outside photography is prohibited. That's unfortunate because I really would have liked the opportunity to shoot the dirt late models.
To view the additional images please click here.
On a different note or rant, at the Daytona 500 there were two crashes, primarily the Danica Patrick one, where cars hit concrete walls instead of the Safer Barriers. Danica's crash was eerily reminiscent of the Dale Earnhardt impact. If it hadn't been for the safer Gen 6 cars and the driver safety innovations (HANS, restraints and seats), that crash outcome might not have had a positive ending. DIS is currently in the process of the Daytona Rising renovation of the grandstand to provide better seating and hospitality areas for the fans. I would suggest that maybe some of those funds should be directed at making the racetrack safer for the competitors who should not be hitting bare concrete walls.
Great Weekend of Racing
This was a fantastic weekend for racing. The Nascar season opened on Friday night with Kyle Busch taking the Camping World Truck Series win followed by Regan Smith winning the Nationwide race on Saturday. On Sunday, the Sprint Cup race started under ominous skies and after 38 laps had to be stopped for rain. Over six hours later, they re-started the race and unless you are living under a rock, you know that Dale Earnhardt Jr. took his second win the Great American Race. The funny part was during the rain delay, they replayed last year's race and some folks thought it was live and Jimmie Johnson won! One of the Fox affiliates was even fooled and announced the win. Before the restart Jimmie was having fun with that one. Next up is Phoenix.
Out in Arizona, the NHRA was running their National event at the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park with Antron Brown winning Top Fuel, Alexis Dejoria winning Funny Car and Allen Johnson, Pro Stock winner. It was Alexis' first Funny Car career win. For those who don't follow drag racing regularly the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park is the old Firebird International Raceway. After the old owner bowed out of renewing his lease with the Gila River Indian Community, NHRA successfully negotiated to keep the track on the circuit with the new name. In three weeks, they will be in Gainesville, Fl., for the Gatornationals.
On a sadder note, at the Amsoil Snocross Championship National event in Mt. Pleasant, Mi., GLX rider Tyler Adams had a bad crash and was severely injured. Tyler remains in the hospital in Mt. Pleasant in the ICU. The last reports I had was that he will recover, but his season is over. Our prayers and best wishes go out to Tyler, his family and friends. Tyler won the last Pro Lite 1 event at GLX Snocross at the Golf Farm in Wauconda.
Closer to home on Saturday, I attended the Race and Performance Expo at the Pheasant Run Mega Center in St. Charles. I hooked up with some friends and had an outstanding time.
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Saturday started out as a bright, partly cloudy day. As I drove to the track, I was thinking, "This will be great lighting for photography!" As I got closer to the track, the clouds got thicker and when I arrived it was cloudy. My next thought was, "That's okay the lighting will be consistent. I can still get some nice shots." The racing started with two heats of 16 races each which included an Alumni Race. The racing was hot and heavy. After the second heat there was a longer break to present the awards from the previous week's Ameri Temp Challenge. Near the end of the second heat racing, it started to snow. The snow got progressively heavier. During the Finals it was really snowing hard. While it was interesting racing in the snow, the photography was really impaired. In the Pro 1 final, Tyler Adams #705 was the winner. The racing was great and all in attendance seemed to have a great time. I was not pleased with photographs with the heavy snow, so I decided not to process or post them. I have them and if anyone is interested in seeing them, you can email me. Next week there is a national event in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, so GLX Snocross will be taking the weekend off returning March 1st with the Don Jackson's - Amsoil Race Day. I hope to see everyone there.
To see all the action from Saturday's racing click here.
To see all this season's racing (that I have covered) click here.
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I didn't know if I was going to make this Saturday's GLX Snocross' American Industrial Co. Challenge. My daughter is flying in from Washington D.C. and I didn't know if I could fit it into the schedule. Fortunately, things have worked out and I will be attending. During the week, there was a reported sighting of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. practicing a sled at the Golf Farm. It was reported that he did very good. Unfortunately, Ricky is now down in Daytona getting ready for the Daytona 500. With no National event this weekend, the sled count should be up with a lot of the more experienced riders returning to run. The weatherman is again calling for some light snow. I was hoping for some bright sunlight and not having to fight the elements. I'm praying for a weather change! If we can get through the scheduled races on time, I may be able to get home in time to see the end of the Sprint Unlimited from Daytona. I am so happy that auto racing season is starting. Last weekend the NHRA ran the Winter Nationals from Pomona with John Force continuing his winning ways in Funny Car. Khalid Albalooshi won in Top Fuel and Jason Line won in Pro Stock. My first auto racing shoot will be on April 5th at the Rockford Speedway followed the next weekend with the Spring Classic. My track(s) start their schedule with Route 66 Raceway having its first Test & Tune on April 12th. It's going to get busy fast! Come out this weekend to Snocross and enjoy the racing. There are only three events left and then the National event in Lake Geneva. To see all this season's GLX Snocross action click here.
To see our complete portfolio including racing from Route 66, Chicagoland Speedway and Rockford Speedway please click here.
Ameri Temp Challenge
On Saturday, GLX Snocross presented the Ameri Temp Challenge. The weather for photography wasn't the best. Before I left for the track, the weather report read that there would be an intense cell of snow tapering off and moving out of the area by 3-4:00 p.m. WRONG! It snowed almost the entire event with short respites. The sled count was down slightly due to some of the GLX Snocross members racing at the National event in Salamanca, New York. Several classes were combined, but there were two heats of fourteen races each followed by the finals of fourteen races and a Mechanics Race.
In the finals there was one scary crash involving Jonathan Schwantz. He was attended to by medical staff and by the end of the night was doing well with no serious injuries. Besides the new starting time, it was decided to have an awards ceremony after the second heat races before the finals. I think it worked well, however from a photography perspective it was difficult to climatize my camera from the cold to the warm inside of the Bar and Grill. I think next time I will bring a third camera that I will keep wrapped in a camera bag so I won't have an issue with fogging.
As this is my first year photographing Snocross , I am learning the best way to cover these events. For you photo buffs out there, just a quick note on how I'm shooting these events. I have chosen to use the TAv mode. I try to keep the shutter speed (T) at 1/500 sec. and the Aperture (Av) at 5.6 or above. I let the camera choose the ISO. Depending on the light, I will make slight adjustments to those settings, however whenever I drop below 1/500 shutter speed, I tend to get blur. I next will adjust my aperture down to 2.8. That will shorten my depth of field, but it can't be helped if I want to keep the ISO in a reasonable noise range. I am using a two camera rig with a 28-70mm f2.8 mounted on one and a 70-200mm f2.8 mounted on the other. As I previously noted, my intention is to bring a third camera just for in the inside awards ceremony. Next Saturday will be the American Industrial Co. Challenge, which is at the new start time of 2:00 p.m. By clicking on the links, you can visit the GLX Snocross and the race sponsoring companies websites.
Click here for the images from this weeks action.
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Today, Route 66 Raceway announced the return of Team Demolition Derby and the addition of the Monster Truck Mayhem Summer Truck Fest @ 66 on August 9th. The five Team Demolition Derbies will all be themed events:
May 24th - Memorial Mayhem to support our troops
June 21st - Wrecks and Rock Night
July 26th - Red, White and Blues with music and a fireworks show
August 23rd - Light up the Night with the Cub Scouts
September 27 - Pink Night supporting breast cancer awareness.
Please click here for more information on the Team Demolition Derbies.
This year the Dirt Oval is adding a monster truck show called the Monster Truck Mayhem Summer Truck Fest @ 66. This event starts with a free tailgate party from 4:00 - 6:30 p.m. This show will include fan events for those who drive trucks. Additional information will be available on the Route 66 Raceway website as the event approaches.
The events at the Dirt Oval are the most popular and attended events all season. They very often are a sellout, so I wouldn't wait to the last minute to purchase tickets. My Granddaughter is a huge fan of Team Demo and is hugely upset when she cannot attend. I hope Janet and I will see everyone out at the Dirt Oval. If you see us, stop and ask for your picture to be taken and come back to the website after the event to view and purchase your photo. We can't wait to get started!
Please click here to see images from past Team Demolition Derbies.
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This Saturday, GLX Snocross will have the Ameritemp Challenge at the Golf Farm on Rt 12 in Wauconda starting at 2:00 p.m. Note the time change from 3 to 2:00 p.m. The weatherman is calling for a 60% chance of snowshowers and 17 degrees. So what is new! Come on out and see if Nick Lorenz can duplicate his performance from last week with the three finals wins. For more information on GLX Snocross click here for their website. For images from races 2, 3 and 5 click here.
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Over the past week, NASCAR Nation was bombarded with rules changes pertaining to qualifying and the new Chase format. The media has jumped on these stories and have fired up the fans. The funny part, in my opinion, was that the best and most important story was left almost untouched.
Quick question: What is the core value of NASCAR racing? It should be the on-track performance of the drivers and teams. I had the honor and privilege to attend a presentation by NASCAR's Brett Bodine. Last year, NASCAR introduced the new gen 6 race car. NASCAR media praised the car for its looks and improved drivability. In truth, on the intermediate tracks (where most of the racing occurs), the racing was not very good. There were races with no green flag passes for the lead! All those passes occurred on pit road. I can't speak for everyone, but I would rather see on-track racing rather than pit road racing.
On several occasions throughout the season, drivers noted that it was like hitting a brick wall when they approached the lead car. They couldn't pass, and they couldn't figure it out. Through its race monitoring mechanisms, NASCAR realized there was a problem with the intermediate track racing. In an unprecedented move, NASCAR created a team of engineers from the Tech Center and the race teams to tackle the problem. To say I understand the methodology would be a lie, other than to say it involved fluid dynamics. They learned that at three car-lengths behind the leader, the following car had a 47-usable-horsepower advantage. This allowed the following car to close on the leader. As it got within 1.6 car-lengths, there was a dramatic loss in usable horsepower of 136. This was a loss of 183 horsepower. This explains the "brick wall" analogy. It would be nearly impossible for the trailing car to pass.
The next problem area they found was the instability of the car. It was explained that the drivers are not going to drive close to each other if they don't know what the car was going to do. In past years, NASCAR dictated before and after race-ride heights. These were artificial measurements, because the cars never were at those heights during the race. When the cars approached the leader and air was taken off the nose, the shocks and springs would force the nose up while the aerodynamics where trying to force the nose down. This caused a lot of instability and poor drivability. Another issue with the nose was the rounded bottom of the splitter, causing aero instability.
To fix these problems, NASCAR eliminated the ride-height rule and changed the rule so the splitter is now squared off. With the removal of the ride-height requirement, the teams will be responsible for the side skirt heights. With some of the other under-car aero changes and spoiler rules, this should allow for better intermediate race track racing.
Recently on Sirius NASCAR Radio, Buddy Baker related a conversation he had with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Junior stated he was able to dive under competitors, make it stick, and run side-by-side in the most recent tests. Hopefully, this will hold true for all intermediate race tracks. There will be additional changes in upcoming years that NASCAR was not able to implement because of time constraints. These changes should produce the side-by-side racing that had been lost over the last few years.
I am really looking forward to this season's improved intermediate track races!
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