I was unsure if I was going to write anything this week about the NASCAR XFINITY Series/ ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards racing. This blog is a photo centric racing blog and on the NASCAR weekends I usually do not get to do a lot of photography. Besides doing our job, I like this weekend because I get to see some friends I haven't seen since September's Sprint Cup Race for the Chase. Not to drop names, but it was nice to see and have a good conversation with Adam Alexander. Larry McReynolds stopped in several times and Janet had a nice conversation with him. Friday and Saturday we interacted with the Fox Sports pit road on-air talent of Vince Welch, Jamie Little and Chris Neville. They are a fun group. I had a surprise when Dan Peters of the Suburban Journal of Chicago was accompanied by Kim Kemperman. I have shot with Kim numerous times at the Rockford Speedway. Kim was accompanied by Sue Majeski also shooting for the Suburban Journal. At the time, I didn't realize that Sue's son was Ty Majeski, the 2014 Midwest ARCA Tour Champion and Rookie of the Year.
Practice #1 for the NASCAR XFINITY Series began at 2:30 p.m. and ended at 3:55 p.m. Practice was led by #3 Ty Dillon followed by #22 Ryan Blaney and Ty's brother #33 Austin Dillon. I was able to run out to pit road and shoot about ten miniutes of practice and here are a few of those.
NASCAR XFINITY Series practice was immediately followed by the ARCA Racing Series practice, which was led by Ryan Reed followed by Daniel Suarez and long time ARCA Champion Frank Kimmel. Again, it was another 10 minute dash!
And for a third time, a quick run to pit road to capture some Final Practice action. This time it was the #33 of Austin Dillon who led, followed by #28 JJ Yeley and the #22 of Ryan Blaney.
Saturday started out as a beautiful day. We knew early on that the weather was iffy for the XFINITY race. All day, we were intensely watching the weather report. Janet was in constant communication with former ABC Meteorologist Mike Caplan. Mike was providing us with a steady flow of updates. We want to thank Mike for his timely and accurate forecasting. We were highly appreciative that he took the time to help us during an active and busy weather day. One of the highlights of the day was the appearance of the Grand Marshals for the XFINITY race of Rob Gronkowski, his father and four brothers for a media availability press conference. It was a fun press conference to say the least as the youngest brother of the five took over. A good time was had by all.
I didn't know it at the time, but this would be the last of my photography for the weekend. By the time the ARCA race started shortly after 6:00 p.m., we knew the XFINITY race was in deep trouble and we already had a contingency plan in place. Early on, the ARCA race was plagued by on-track incidents, spins, crashes, etc. We were able to complete the ARCA race with Ryan Reed #16 winning his first ever ARCA race. As the starting time for the XFINITY race got closer, it started to rain and didn't stop for a long time. The race was postponed until Sunday at 11:00 a.m. While waiting for the official postponement announcement we were able to gather the photography and PR staff for our annual photo. A funny sidebar was Nascar's Matt Humphrey taking a cell phone picture and commenting, "The most experienced rain delay PR staff in Nascar!".
Sunday started out as a cloudy day, but soon turned into a beautiful day for racing. The race started after a great National Anthem rendition by Jessica Rae. The racing was fast and furious and with 10 laps to go, Eric Jones shot to the lead and took the Checkered Flag. It was the third win of the week for Eric. He had previously won the Camping World Truck race in Iowa and the ARCA/CRA Super Series race at the Berlin Raceway in Michigan.
This Friday I will be at the Route 66 Raceway for an O'reilly Auto Parts Test & Tune along with a make-up NHRA Junior Drag League race. On Saturday, I will be attempting a double with a NHRA Junior Drag League race at Route 66 and the Kar Korner Allstar 100 with the ARCA Midwest Tour at the Rockford Speedway. It should be a fun weekend! See you at the track!!