24
Sep

Day two of NHRA Dallas would be a repeat of weather conditions from Friday, basically it was hot and miserable. Thankfully I wasn’t stuck in a multi layer fire suit! Then again, for the 100 thousand dollars John Force would win wearing said fire suit, I would do many many things that we won’t mention….

For the first qualifying session of the day I would shoot on the starting line before heading to the grandstands at the quarter mile finish line for the final session. Below, a crew member looks on as pro stock motorcycle rider Karen Stoffer prepares to launch off the staring line.

Nikon D800, 70-200mm, 400iso, f6.3, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority

I knew when I got stuck in traffic coming into the track that there would be a good crowd on hand.

This shot of the packed grandstands looking on as top fuel dragsters did their burnouts in the third qualifying session.

Nikon D800, 70-200mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/4000th, Aperture Priority

Top fuel dragster driver Steve Torrence races downtrack during his home race at the Texas Motorplex.

Nikon D800, 70-200mm, 500iso, f4, 1/4000th, Aperture Priority

In the below shot of top fuel driver Tony Schumacher, he was standing beneath the tower in the shade with a sunny background behind him. By exposing for Schumacher in the shade it would completely blow out the bright background. Technically its a garbage photo but I don’t mind the look at all. Then again, I got kicked out of photography class in high school so what do I know?….

Nikon D800, 70-200mm, 500iso, f4, 1/400th, Aperture Priority

A few minutes later an ESPN cameraman would make the unfortunate mistake of letting funny car driver Ron Capps borrow his camera. As you can see he would quickly get to work doing a shoot with his top fuel teammate Tony Schumacher. Extra credit points to Capps for getting down low to get his shot. He’s ahead of half the photographers I see out there at sporting events who take the same boring shots from the same boring angles every week.

Nikon D800, 24-70mm, 200iso, f7.1, 1/250th, Manual

Following his job as a cameraman, Capps would don his fireproof head sock before climbing into the cockpit of his NAPA Auto Parts funny car.

Nikon D800, 70-200mm, 200iso, f3.5, 1/640th, Aperture Priority

Here is a low angle view as funny car driver John Force does a burnout in his Castrol GTX Mustang. This would be the beginning of Force’s great day.

Nikon D800, 24-70mm, 320iso, f5.6, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority

A person who wouldn’t have a great day was top fuel privateer Scott Palmer who would have a decent sized fireball in the final qualifying session. Despite the fire, Palmer would qualify for tomorrows eliminations. According to Palmer his mom enjoyed this fire because she thought it was “pretty.”  haha

Nikon D800, 600mm, 320iso, f7.1, 1/5000th, Aperture Priority

A few pair of cars later, top fuel driver David Grubnic would break a blower belt near the finish line. Look at all the fragments of the belt flying off.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 320iso, f7.1, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority

Apparently one of the flying pieces would cut his fuel line. Look closely and you can see the fuel just starting to spray out.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 320iso, f7.1, 1/1250th, Aperture Priority

The small break in the fuel line would quickly become a bigger problem as fuel poured from the cut line around the engine.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 320iso, f7.1, 1/1250th, Aperture Priority

In this shot its almost a wind tunnel like shot that really shows you how air flows in and around the engine area. Check out all the fuel sucking up to the back of his roll cage.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 320iso, f7.1, 1/1250th, Aperture Priority

As fuel tends to do when it hits hot exhaust pipes, it would briefly catch on fire. It went out quickly and Grubnic would be unhurt.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 320iso, f7.1, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

These next two shots are a good example that I don’t always get the money shots as some suggest.

On top of being over lensed with my 600mm on my D800 I would follow the wrong car and miss Doug Kalitta blowing his engine in a fireball. Here is what I saw going past me.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 320iso, f7.1, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

Nikon D800, 600mm, 320iso, f7.1, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority

The funny car Traxxas Shootout, a specialty race for 8 of the top drivers, would also take place between rounds of pro qualifying.

In a great final it would be John Force taking the big check home.

Nikon D800, 24-70mm, 100iso, f6.3, 1/250th, Aperture Priority with SB-800 Flash

Force continues to add hardware to his legendary trophy collection.

Nikon D800, 24-70mm, 100iso, f9, 1/250th, Manual with SB-800 Flash

That wraps up a hot day at the track. Up next is race day images!

I have a Facebook page devoted my photography where I routinely share my favorite photos from each shoot as well as favorite photos from the past. Click the below banner to check it out. Be sure to “like” the page so you can be kept up to date on all the events I am doing!


 
Posted in 10 Spot, Drag Racing, NHRA, Racing, Sports, Texas   2 Comments

2 Responses to “10 Spot / NHRA Dallas Saturday”

  1. Todd says:

    Outstanding photos! I was in the stands etc taking pics there as well. Saw you running around. Sure enjoy your work! Keep it up!

  2. Keith Lovett says:

    Hey Mark,

    I was just wondering do you ever take a light meter out to the track with you? Your images are always perfectly exposed, I am always in fear of getting the perfect opportunity but then ruining it with poor exposure.

    Love your work, great images with great information behind it. Thank you!

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Check out my Facebook page devoted my photography where I routinely share my favorite photos from each shoot as well as favorite photos from the past. Click the below banner to check it out. Be sure to "like" the page so you can be kept up to date on all the events I am doing!