24
Oct

After a long day spent on the starting line for Friday, I decided I wanted to shoot top end for day two of qualifying. Last year I would shoot top end this same day and was rewarded with a Pretty Wild Photo Sequence. Would today provide me any cool photos? As a former vice president candidate used to say, “You Betcha!”

The star of the day for photos would be top fuel dragster driver Rit Pustari.

In the first session on the day Pustari would blow an engine which would send a massive cloud of smoke into the sky.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 500iso, f5, 1/2000th, Manual

Smoke would continue pouring from his engine as the car made its way past me, over 1200 feet past the finish line.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 500iso, f5, 1/2000th, Manual

Not wanting to be outdone, top fuel driver Spencer Massey would one up Pustari by adding a fireball to his engine problems.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/2500th, Manual

Nikon D800, 600mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/2500th, Manual

Between rounds I would find some time to fish in a little creek near my shooting position in the shutdown area. I would grab fellow photographer Roger Richards to come document it if I actually caught something.

Well a few minutes in I would!

Apparently it is called a sucker fish.

Smile for the camera!

Photos by Roger Richards

After I caught a few tiny fish suitable as fishing bait it was back to work for the final nitro session.

Early on it would be the star of the day, Rit Pustari (right) sending a shower of orange foam into the air as he crossed the centerline towards Clay Millican.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 400iso, f4, 1/1600th, Manual

From my head on angle as I shot, it looked as if I was able to get a two car crash.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 400iso, f4, 1/1600th, Manual

This next shot is crazy as Pustari’s car is nearly perfectly hidden behind Clays car.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 400iso, f4, 1/1600th, Manual

Pustari would now come around the other side of Clay, towards me!

Nikon D800, 600mm, 400iso, f4, 1/1600th, Manual

With Clays parachute out and Rits not, it was evident that a collision was imminent.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 400iso, f4, 1/1600th, Manual

Just before the two cars were too close for me to shoot they would make contact. Check out Rit’s front win being broken by Clays rear wheel!

Nikon D800, 600mm, 400iso, f4, 1/1600th, Manual

At this point with the momentum of Pustari’s car coming towards me I fully expected his car to go airborne over the back of Clays car so I said screw it and leap off my step ladder and into the tuck position on the ground. This photo was shot as I started bailing (hence the blurry photo)

Nikon D800, 600mm, 400iso, f4, 1/1600th, Manual

Here is a zoomed in view of an earlier shot in the sequence which actually shows the small plastic reflector (which is contained inside the orange foam blocks) that would become embeded in the front wing of his car. Takes a lot of force to put plastic through metal but I guess those forces are easily attained at 310 mph!

Nikon D800, 600mm, 400iso, f4, 1/1600th, Manual

Normally I am gone from the track the instant the last pro car goes down the track but this weekend with my top alcohol funny car client Cassandra Simonton racing round one following pro qualifying I would stick around.

Below, driver Clint Thompson (right) takes out the timing blocks alongside Paul Gill.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 800iso, f5.6, 1/2000th, Manual

Wanting something cool of Cassandra, I would have my wide angle lens camera around my next. As soon as she got too close for my 600mm I would switch to the wide and get the below shot. Love the colors!

Nikon D800, 24-70mm, 500iso, f9, 1/1250th, Manual

That wraps up Saturday at Maple Grove. Only one more day….

Or so we all thought!

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!


 
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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!