Friday night was Route 66 Raceway's last event at the dragstrip for 2014. There was everything from street cars, to Gassers to Nostalgic race cars. to "Beat the Heat" race cars. With the weather being spectacular, it was a great night to end a great season of drag racing. There were some minor glitches throughout the night with some cars breaking and some minor scoring issues, however, truth be told, it was a pretty smooth event. Near the end of the event there was even a parade of Fire Trucks! Here are a few images from Friday's event.
To see all the images from Friday night click here and for all the events please click here.
Here is the last car to run in the 2014 season.
Next up is tonight's Team Demolition Derby round 4 at the Rt. 66 Dirt Oval.
After last week's NASCAR event, Friday night was my return to Route 66 for one of the two remaining Test & Tunes of the season. My thoughts were that I would go down, talk to a few folks, snap a few shots and come home. Being so late in the season, I did not anticipate a large car count. WRONG!! I knew Rocky Ausec was bringing out Solid Rock, but did not realize the number of Top Sportsman cars that showed up. There were cars that I had not seen all season. The staging lanes were packed from the front all the way to the back. At times, the fans were standing 4-5 deep at the wall to see the action. Even Scotty Heat, in the Fifty Cal Jet Dragster, was there and ran a 302.14 MPH 5.23 8 ET. It was an impressive run.
I spoke with Dave Meloni and he asked me to get a shot of his car because, since ET Bracket season was over, he was going to let it all hang out. My plan was to shoot his car and then head home. Unfortunately as Dave was awaiting his run, a dragster decided to blow its engine leaving a trail of parts and oil the entire length of the right lane. I believe this was the car. If it wasn't I apologize.
To complete the night's runs, it was decided to use the left lane only. Dave was next up when this Camaro launched with a wheelie. When it came down something broke! Another delay!
Finally, Dave made his run! This was my last shot of the evening.
Here are some more shots from the evening's action.
The day started as a beautiful warm, but foggy morning. When we arrived at Route 66, we learned there was a major storm brewing. The track went into a hurry-up mode by going directly into time trials, foregoing practice. In the Sportsman Division, Bobby Churchill was eliminated in the first round of eliminations causing the Championship to go to Jesse Lasik. Jesse was not at the races today because of a prior commitment and was awarded the Championship in absentia. In the Modified Division, TJ Trench had a slim nine point lead over Bobby Bode. In the third round, they were matched head to head. TJ redlighted allowing Bobby to take a one point lead and the Championship. It was disappointing to TJ and his family, however they had a great season. Bobby, early in the season, was way behind in the points, but came on in the end to win the Championship. In Saturday's races, Kamryn Schubbe won in Sportsman by beating Braden Bowden. Bobby Bode won in Modified by beating Jake Lucky. Twenty minutes after the conclusion of the event it began to rain which turned into a deluge. Which leads to the second event of the day, Team Demolition Derby.
We want to congratulate all this year's winners and champions.
Here are some photos from the Junior Dragster action.
Well, I guess my prayer was answered. As ominous as the weather report was, it turned out to be a beautiful, warm night at Rt. 66. All day, we were in contact with staff whether the event was going to be held and the possibility of a low car count. At the last minute, Janet decided I should go and she would hang back at the house. When I arrived it was indeed a low car count, but did grow gradually. I'm guessing there was 50-60 cars. One of the families told me that, in some communities, Friday, was the start of High School football. The night was highlighted by Rocky Ausec's nostalgic funny car, Solid Rock. I left before the event ended but here are a few images from the racing. Please click here to see all the images.
This morning we are off to the Junior Dragsters followed by Team Demolition Derby. Please check back to see the images we capture from those two events.
Saturday night was a short sleep night after the Classic ended and the final ET Bracket race of the season began at 09:30 (the '0' stands for "Oh my gosh its early!"). Weather wise it was a beautiful day and everything was going smoothly. Late in the afternoon a Motorcycle exploded its engine at about the 1000 foot mark. Besides the shrapnel there was a considerable amount of oil laid down. After the cleanup it was back to racing, when suddenly the Fire Department was summoned to extinguish a fire. Apparently someone dumped some hot coals from a grill and started a fire. Upon the Fire Department's return, it was back to the action. The rest of the competition was completed without a hitch. Congratulations to our winners:
High School - Ben Grant
Sportsman - Bill Northup
Motorcycle - Greg Darm
Pro Eliminator - Dave Meccia
Super Pro - Brian Lane
Midwest Top Sportsman - Jim Tacchia
Congratulations to our Track Champions and good luck to the ET Bracket Team down at Indy in two weeks. Here are some photos from the day. To see all the action please click here. You will notice there are some black and white photos and what is called Bleach Bypass which "bleaches" the color. We were experimenting to gauge reaction, so if you wish to comment, please do. Also we can stylize any photo to give it a painted look and other special effects.
Right now it is Saturday and I am sitting at home waiting for the weather to clear before heading to Route 66 for today's action. On Friday, I didn't get to the Raceway until about 2:00 pm. It was a difficult day for photography because of the changing lighting conditions. When the clouds obscured the sun, the light was perfect, however when the sun was out there was a tremendous amount of glare. I resorted to using my flash to try to knock down some of the harsh sunlight. As I related in my earlier post, my plan was to leave before the night's action was completed, so I left shortly after the 2nd round of Pro Mod qualifying. There are some very fast cars here this weekend, running in the high 5's to low 6's for the quarter. If we can get this rain out of here, it should be a fun and exciting weekend of racing. To check on the status of the racing please click here for NMRA or here for NMCA. These are their Facebook pages.
Below is some of the action from Friday.
This weekend Route 66 Raceway will be hosting the 9th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing presented by Strange Engineering. You can get more complete schedule information by going to either the NMRA website or the NMCA website, whichever is your cup of tea. On Thursday, there will not be any on track action, however Nitto Tire and ProMedia will be hosting a Happy Hour on the Midway between 5-7:00 pm. The actual racing begins on Friday with a test & tune in the morning, followed by two qualifying sessions. It will be a full day of racing! I will be there for the three days of the event, but Friday and Sunday will be short days and Saturday a long day for me. Last year, I had a scheduling conflict and could only make Sunday. Here are some photos from last year's Sunday event.
I want to thank ProMedia in advance for providing our credentials to cover this event.
I hope to see all our drag racing friends at the Raceway this weekend!
Today's racing was totally different then yesterdays. Everything went extremely well and mostly on time! The first thing to complete today was the Junior Drag League Challenge. The racing started with Todd Trench Jr. (TJ) defeating his sister Tori. TJ continued on, eventually facing Andrew Green. Andrew had a faster reaction time and defeated TJ taking home the Wally. After the completion of the JDL Challenge, the ET Bracket Series started their qualifying leading to the elimination rounds. This race was part of the NHRA National Dragster Challenge where each class winner was awarded a Wally. The first elimination winner was High School with Fernando Lopez Jr. taking home the first Wally. This was followed by all the other classes, Sportsman winner- Tony Lyons, Pro Bike- Bob Foster Jr., Pro Eliminator- John Singleton and Super Pro- King of the Track winner Jay Allen. Congratulations to all our winners!
Here are a few photos from today's action.
To see all of today's action please click here.
To view the complete portfolio, please click here.
Remember, prints can be ordered by clicking here or on the ordering tab at the top of the page.
The next event at Route 66 is this coming weekend with the the 9th annual Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street legal Drag Racing Presented by Strange Engineering. I'm not sure whether I will attend this event due to some credential restrictions.
Saturday was an early morning because I wanted to be there when Terry Simpson ran his second elimination round. Unfortunately, Terry redlighted! Although that was disappointing, he had a good weekend by achieving his pre-season goal of winning a round at a National event.
It was then that I remembered that local part-time professional Top Fuel Dragster driver TJ Zizzo was holding court and making pancakes for all that stopped by. TJ is a favorite at Route 66 Raceway and he sometimes announces at the track. I think he has as much fun interacting with the fans as the fans do with him. While I did not partake of the pancakes, I was told they were very good and TJ said they were "Nitro Fueled"! He also stated he is in serious talks with a major corporate sponsor for his team to continue running his part-time schedule. He is hoping to make the announcement in late July or early August. He stated while he would never pass up the right opportunity to go full time, however it really is an unbelievable commitment of time. It is so much more than just driving, with sponsor commitments, cleaning/polishing equipment and managing the operation it leaves little time for anything else. His 2013 twelve race season left him with little time to do things like fix the roof on his house! Besides, he also has to work at his business! While I was there ESPN Tv stopped by to film some 'B' roll
My last commitment for the day was the Route 66 Fan Pit Zone autograph session featuring my personal favorite, Shirley Muldowney, "The First Lady of Drag Racing". She did not disappoint! She drew such a crowd, that she stayed an extra hour to accommodate all her fans. I was so fascinated, that on several occasions I forgot to press the shutter button! Joining Shirley at the autograph session was Top Fuel Dragster drivers, Steve Torrence, Doug Kalitta, Khalid alBalooshi and Shawn Langdon.
Outside the Fan Pit Zone the NHRA Junior Drag League drivers had their own autograph session. I love working with the kids. They are a lot of fun and very professional when the camera is turned on. Otherwise, they are just kids having fun!
To see all the photos taken that day please click here.
This will be the last report from the Nationals because we did not attend the finals on Sunday. I want to congratulate the winners, Antron Brown, Matt Hagan, Vincent Nobile, Hector Arana Jr. and all the lower level series drivers on a great weekend of drag racing.
To see our complete portfolio please click here.
I just wanted to get your attention with Angie Smith and the Kandy Girls (Claudia, Alexa and April)! When we arrived we learned our friend Terry Simpson had run his son's (Randy Simpson, General Manager of O'Reilly Motorsports Park in Indianapolis (actually Avon) Camaro earlier that morning. Terry hadn't raced in 27 years and he made a goal of having a round win in a National event. Goal achieved as Terry won his first round run. Congratulations to Terry and the entire family.
After visiting with Terry and Randy, it was time to wander around. Since we didn't have any on-track photography responsibilities, we decided to freelance around and shoot from different angles and different places. Later on local favorite Bob Bode ran his Top Fuel Funny Funny. He developed an oil leak which led to all kinds of things to go wrong causing a massive fire. Fortunately, Bob was not injured, nor the car seriously damaged. If you look at Bob's launch there were some weird streaks of flame prior to the actual fire.
Here are some pictures from the rest of our NHRA Nationals Friday. To see all our photos from the day please click here.
Next up: NHRA Saturday