17
Aug

For the third weekend in a row I would find myself at yet another drag race, this time up in the Pacific Northwest as we wrapped up the “Western Swing” which took us to Denver, Sonoma and finally Seattle. I last shot at this track back in 2005, my last year in the Navy when I was stationed in the Seattle area. I have done pretty well at this track with getting some cool photos and this year would be no different.

Friday began like every other race with roaming around the pits looking for cool shots.

Below, Shawn Langdon sits snuggly in the cockpit of his top fuel dragster as crew members work all around the car while warming the engine up prior to the first round of qualifying for the Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Kent, WA,

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 800iso, f2.8, 1/250th, Aperture Priority

Below, pro stock driver Rodger Brogdon gets his car way sideways during his burnout in the first round of qualifying.

Nikon D3s, 400mm, 400iso, f5, 1/1600th, Manual

Below, the funny cars of Tim Wilkerson (right), Bob Tasca III (center) and Jeff Diehl sit lined up in the staging lanes as they wait to make their runs during qualifying.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/640th, Aperture Priority

When I get bored of shooting the typical cars doing burnouts and launching off the starting line I am always looking for interesting random pics to shoot.

In the below shot an NHRA track worker holds a blow torch on the starting line.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 400iso, f2.8, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

John Force (below) checks out the blown tire off the car of teammate Robert Hight (not pictured) who blew the tire right off the starting line.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, 400iso, f4.5, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority

The big story on Friday was the tricky track conditions which made it next to impossible for any of the nitro cars to make it downtrack. Here is a detailed view showing the track actually breaking apart in some areas. After plenty of criticism from various drivers the NHRA worked well into the night to have it repaired for the rest of the weekend.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, 400iso, f4.5, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

Cool overcast skies always find their way into my shots, this weekend would be no different as I would use clouds to fill out a lot of my pics.

Below, crew members prepare to fire up the car of funny car driver Tony Pedregon prior to his second qualifying pass.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f11, 1/250th, Manual with SB-800 Flash

Brandon Bernstein, driver of the Copart top fuel dragster stands alongside his car prior to strapping in for his second qualifying pass, below.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, 400iso, f4.5, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

The late afternoon light at Seattle is some of the best light on the circuit. Of course as luck would have it overcast skies prevailed on this day but towards the end the sun peeked out just long enough for me to get the below frame of top fuel driver Antron Brown launching off the starting line.

Nikon D3s, 400mm, 400iso, f5.6, 1/1000th, Manual

Antron would smoke the tires on the run and would coast the half mile to the top end turnoff with a pretty cool background, below.

Nikon D3s, 400mm, 400iso, f5.6, 1/5000th, Aperture Priority

That wrapped up Friday.

For Saturday I would spend the day top end trying to get some variety since all day Friday was spent on the starting line.

Below, a pair of super street drivers fill the forest with a cloud of smoke following their burnouts.

Nikon D3s, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 400iso, f6.3, 1/1600th, Manual

Below, NHRA funny car driver Tim Wilkerson (right) races alongside Mike Neff during third round of qualifying for the Northwest Nationals.

Nikon D3s, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 500iso, f6.3, 1/1250th, Manual

A bit of bad luck would strike Jack Beckman, driver of the Aarons “Lucky Dog” in the third session of funny car qualifying as he blew an engine at the finish line, below.

Nikon D3s, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 500iso, f6.3, 1/1600th, Manual

Along with a huge cloud of smoke from the damaged engine a fire would develop beneath the cars body….

Nikon D3s, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 500iso, f6.3, 1/1600th, Manual

….the fire would go out as Beckman climbed from the cars escape hatch. Not a very lucky day for the driver of the Lucky Dog…

Nikon D3s, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 500iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority

Another unlucky dog would be Terry Haddock (below) who would be one of only two drivers to fail to qualify in funny car.

Nikon D3s, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 400iso, f5.6, 1/2500th, Manual

In the below shot I went wide to include the tree filled background into the shot of funny car drivers Melanie Troxel and Brian Thiel doing their burnouts during the third session.

Nikon D3s, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (550mm), 400iso, f5.6, 1/1600th, Manual

Sunday morning would be spent running around the pit area taking care of some behind the scenes shots.

Below, NHRA pro mod driver Leah Pruett-LeDuc works beneath the car of R2B2 teammate Melanie Troxel prior to the first round of eliminations.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 400iso, f2.8, 1/500th, Manual

While we are on the topic of Leah be sure to CLICK HERE to see my cover shot of her for Drag Illustrated magazine.

Top fuel driver Shawn Langdon signs a fans fake leg back in the pit area. I wonder if thats the first fake leg Langdon has signed?…

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f4.5, 1/250th, Manual with SB-800 Flash

The car of Bob Tasca III appears on his hospitality trailer in the backgrounds as fans watch a car warming up in the pits, below. I was moving all over the place trying to incorporate the car in the background of the shot.

Nikon D3s, 70-200mm, 1000iso, f2.8, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority

The pits at this race where as crowded as I have ever seen at an NHRA race. Check out the below photo, it was next to impossible to even walk!

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 400iso, f5, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority

Below, NHRA top fuel dragster driver Terry McMillen (near lane) races alongside David Grubnic during the first round of eliminations of the Northwest Nationals.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f5, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority

In the below shot you can really see the kind of power these 8000 horsepower machines produce as they leave a sea of heat waves in their wake as they race down track.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 400iso, f5.6, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority

Puffy white clouds make a good background in the below shot of funny car driver Brian Thiel doing a burnout in his William Rast sponsored car.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 200iso, f6.3, 1/2000th, Manual

Below, top fuel points leader Del Worsham reflects in the side mirror of his Toyota tow vehicle as he suits up prior to his second round run.

Nikon D3s, 70-200mm, 640iso, f5.6, 1/320th, Aperture Priority

Below, pro stock driver Mike Edwards (near lane) races alongside Rodger Brogdon.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 500iso, f7.1, 1/3200th, Aperture Priority

In the below frame, Spencer Massey squeezes into the cockpit of his FRAM top fuel dragster prior to his semi final matchup against Del Worsham.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f7.1, 1/250th, Manual with SB-800 Flash

Tony Schumacher would advance to his third straight final round. In the below shot he receives a police escort back to the pit area. I have received police escorts before but something tells me in Schumachers situation its much cooler than when you’re in the back of the police car….

Nikon D3s, 70-200mm, 640iso, f5.6, 1/4000th, Aperture Priority

Final round time!

The most popular victory of the weekend belonged to top alcohol funny car driver Alexis De Joria who finally won her first career race, below. Alexis is moving up to the nitro funny car class soon and it was no secret she wanted to win a race in the alcohol category prior to leaving.

Nikon D3s, 24-70mm, 100iso, f9, 1/250th, Manual with SB-800 Flash

In pro stock the winner would be Jason Line in his Summit sponsored car.

Nikon D3s, 24-70mm, 100iso, f10, 1/250th, Manual with SB-800 Flash

In funny car the winner would be Tim Wilkerson who ended a year long slump by winning in Seattle for the third straight year!

Nikon D3s, 24-70mm, 100iso, f10, 1/250th, Manual with SB-800 Flash

It would be a very familiar face in the top fuel winner circle as Del Worsham would continue his career resurgence with his sixth victory on the season.

Nikon D3s, 24-70mm, 100iso, f10, 1/250th, Manual with SB-800 Flash

In the below photo an Al-Anabi crew member proves that they really do start their engine on alcohol!

Nikon D3s, 24-70mm, 100iso, f7.1, 1/250th, Manual with SB-800 Flash

And that wraps up another weekend of NHRA.

Click the below link to check out my photo blog for Toyota Racing. (FYI, the Toyota blog is posted a week before this blog so it gives you a sneak preview of some of my cool shots!)

Here is a link to my Facebook page for my photography. 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 as well as my favorite photos from each event, as well as some old favorites from the last 20 years!


 
Posted in Drag Racing, NHRA, Racing, Seattle, Sports   | 1 Comment

One response to “NHRA closes out the Western Swing in Seattle”

  1. Bob says:

    Congrats, you must be having a great day. I was reading USA Today today and your name was all over the place, great job!!!!

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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!