29
Mar

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority

During the second round of eliminations at the NHRA Gatornationals I would witness one of the rarest things that can happen in the sport when funny car drivers Robert Hight and Matt Hagan would BOTH blow the bodies off their cars in spectacular fiery explosions.   Continue on to see my view of something I can almost guarantee that I will never witness for the rest of my life!

I had been planning on shooting the second round of eliminations on the starting line but with the grandstands full of fans I decided to shoot from the top of the grandstands to get some side by side shots with the big crowd in the background.

Matt Hagan (left) races alongside Robert Hight during the second round of the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority           BUY PRINT

As the cars got close they were too full frame to include both in my frame so I had to choose one.  I went with Robert Hight.

Note the raw fuel coming from the header pipes.  Thats the engines way of crying in pain…

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority           BUY PRINT

The engine of Hights car would let go in a big fireball that would split the body at its weakest point in the middle of the wheel well.  Also note the duel body latches up front being ripped right off the chassis from the force of the explosion.

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority           BUY PRINT

The fireball would get even bigger as the body began to catch air and come off the car.

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority           BUY PRINT

At this point I am programmed to switch to the near lane as staying with the car behind will result in an out of focus car due to the heatwaves of the lead car.

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority           BUY PRINT

I start to swing my camera over to Matt Hagan as my brain still hasn’t processed the explosion taking place. Also note the raw fuel coming from his head pipes.

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority           BUY PRINT

Right about here my brain is registering that Robert Hight just exploded you can see that Matt Hagans engine is now exploding.

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority           BUY PRINT

My eye was on Hight on the left of the frame so I didn’t notice Hagans explosion so back to Hight my camera went.

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority           BUY PRINT

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority           BUY PRINT

The below photo really makes me wish I had been using a 200mm lens as you can see the body from Hagans car upside down in the top right corner of the frame over Hight!

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority           BUY PRINT

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority           BUY PRINT

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority           BUY PRINT

I like the reaction of the guy on the trackside RV as he points up at a body flying through the air.   I actually had wanted to shoot the second round from one of those motorhomes but I’m antisocial so there was no way I was going to go talk to a stranger and ask.  #Ihaveissues

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority           BUY PRINT

It is instinctual for me to look up for the flying body to get shots of it in the air.  The crazy thing is at this point I still hadn’t realized that Matt Hagan had exploded so boy was it a mind fuck to aim the camera skyward and instead of it being Robert Hights body, it was Hagans!

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority           BUY PRINT

I would shoot the body as it made its way back to Earth.

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority           BUY PRINT

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority           BUY PRINT

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f6.3, 1/3200th, Aperture Priority           BUY PRINT

The chassis for Matt Hagan is towed back to the pits by crew members following the explosion.

Canon 1Dx mk2, 300mm, 1250iso, f2.8, 1/6400th, Aperture Priority           BUY PRINT

That wraps up the fourth and fifth funny car body toss of 2018.   For the record it would take the last four seasons combined to equal the amount of funny car carnage I have shot in these first three races of 2018!


 
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