Immediately after shooting the day baseball game in Arlington I headed to the airport (after a stop at a Dallas area Chilis) Was supposed to fly out at 8pm but of course my flight ended up delayed till 1030pm. Killed a few hours at the Chilis in the airport terminal before finally boarding the commuter jet for my flight to Kansas City. After the long line at the rental car counter I finally ended up at my hotel room at 1am. Ok no big deal right. Well did I mention the 3.5 hour drive to the track in Iowa at 8am?

I initially wanted to fly into Des Moines, IA but the flights were far too expensive so flying to Kansas City and drive 250 miles was my only choice. Thankfully my rental car had satelitte radio so the drive was very pleasurable as I listened to the full Howard Stern show.

Finally got to the track in Newton, IA (my first time there) and was very pleased to see that it was a very nice looking track and I knew the track photographer Meg, who was very helpful with getting me acclimated and set up.

Practice for the Indy Cars started shortly after my arrival so there wasn’t much time to relax or sit down after a busy past few days of shooting so I geared up and went to work spending a pretty good amount of time shooting a bunch of candids of Danica Patrick (images of her sell) as well as trying to get stock images of every other driver there.

I’m sure it goes without saying that Iowa had been in the news in recent weeks for severe storms which lead to widespread flooding. Of course it was no surprise that in the middle of the afternoon the clear skies filled with ominous dark clouds and we got nailed by a big storm, which included high winds, hail, and a tornado warning (it never came).

After finishing up at the track I checked into hotel and went to the steak house next door to edit some images and have a few drinks while waiting for the arrival of Guy Rhodes, who was en route to shoot his first indy car race with me.

The next few days we shot several hours of practice in the sun outside the track and on Sunday we were greeted with perfect weather for raceday.

I had really tight schedule on Sunday since I had to be back in Kansas City (several hours away) for my 730pm flight. To combat the very tight schedule I parked my car at the very edge of the track property so at the end of the race I could be driven on a souped up golf cart to the car and hightail it outta there to catch my flight.

For the race Guy stayed down low shooting outside the turns as well as inside for the finish and victory lane. I shot from the roof of the track to ensure we had full coverage of the track in the event of a wild crash or anything like that. On a track this small with so many cars the crashes can happen anywhere so being elevated is the best way to be able to get the action. Here is a fisheye shot of the track during the race as well as a diagram showing where I shot a few different moments. The 2 spins were with a 600mm while the shot with all the cars and the fans was shot with a 200mm.

I am constantly asked how I get all the crashes I do. The above image shows that I’m not good I just put myself in the best spot to get that type stuff.

But anyways other than a few spins and 1 semi decent crash by Tony Kanaan it was a very boring race. But hey I got to hang out with one of my best friends and have some fun shooting at a gorgeous facility. Right after the race I headed down from the roof and had to walk against the traffic of thousand of fans trying to get the hell outta the track. The best way I can describe going against traffic (especially down the grandstand stairs) is to tell you to watch discovery channel as salmon slowly swim up steam through obstacles such as waterfalls (slippery grandstand steps covered in beer and other yellowish liquid) and bears (overweight, drunk, hairy shirtless men). Eventually I made it across the track and stopped by victory lane to get a few stock images of the race winner holding the trophy, then I packed up and was driven to my car and out the track onto the highway with virtually zero traffic!

I was still a little tight on time (I thought) so I edited and transmitted via my Verizon card as I drove 80mph on I-80. While I certainly do not recommend transmitting and driving I am sure several photogs are guilty of such crimes!

Made it to the airport with an hour to spare, of course my flight back to Phoenix was delayed an hour! Oh well I eventually got outta KC and still made my connecting flight in Denver and was back home to spend a rare evening at home with the girlfriend.

Had to include this image shot by Guy Rhodes as I inch closer and close to Danica Patrick as she talks to her teammates durign a rain delay.
















Posted in Indy Cars, Iowa, Racing   | 9 Comments

9 responses to “Indy Cars in Iowa”

  1. Guy Rhodes says:

    I had a great time at the race! I still had grime on my neck a day and a thorough showering later from shooting trackside!

  2. Wow, seriously really nice post. Im proud, you made “visual-aids” as well. Cool shots!

  3. Byron Hetzler says:

    Thanks for leaving my home state in one piece! Great stuff boys!

  4. Loving the blog, Mark. Excellent stuff.


  5. Kim Hautz says:

    Love the salmon metaphor…really paints the picture. 🙂

  6. Mark, Very nice work at the Iowa Speedway. Glad you enjoyed your first visit! I was there during practice on Friday. Sorry to have missed you! Hope to see you out again next year! Nice blog.

  7. Mark, Very nice images. Glad you enjoyed your first visit to the Iowa track! I was there on Friday, sorry to have missed you… hope to see you back next year!

  8. Cindy G says:

    Great images! The fisheye one is awesome and one of the best ones I’ve seen of the track. Iowa Speedway is in my husband’s hometown, so we have spent many race weekends there.

  9. Hey! Love the site, keeps me away from my homework, and you always seem to inspire!

    Are you going to be at the Indy 500? I have a credential for race day and would love to meet you and talk for a few minutes.

    Andy Gottesman
    The Lantern / Ohio State University

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