04
Nov
Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 200iso, f6.3, 1/200th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/200th, Aperture Priority

In the final round of NHRA pro stock qualifying driver Deric Kramer would lose control of his 210mph Dodge with destructive consequences. Continue reading to see the whole incident from start middle to end…

This crash was one that I was incredibly lucky to get any images of thanks to a major John Force press conference scheduled in the middle of professional qualifying. Normally I would just skip the press conference and continue shooting the session but with the magnitude of a John Force sponsorship announcement I found myself leaving my two cameras along the wall at the top end and hopping into my car parked nearby to drive into the pits to get a few shots.

Got what I needed and literally ran to my car illegally parked in the pits and made my way back to the top end just as the first pair of pro stockers passed by with their parachutes out.

Took my time getting out of car and heading down to the wall since pro stock cars take forever to do their routine before each race. The cars were staging just as I got down to the wall and gave me just enough time to pick up my main body with the 600mm lens on it to shoot the run, leaving my second body with the 70-200mm lens (more commonly referred to as my “Oh Sh*t! camera”) on the ground next to me.

The cars of Deric Kramer and Aaron Stanfield take off the starting line as I put the camera up to my eye and push the button down halfway to engage the auto focus.

Nothing happens.  I assume perhaps I had turned the camera off (even though I never turn the camera off at the track) so I look down to turn it on as Deric Kramer begins to lose control of his American Ethanol sponsored Dodge.

Camera is turned on but nothing is happening as Kramers car begins to flip over.

Time for the “Oh Sh*t! camera”

As the car is flipping over heading towards me I have to do the one thing you never do at the top end and take my eyes away from the action to get the camera.

I throw it up to my face to begin shooting only to have to wait, what seems like an eternity, for the camera to wake up and then begin to auto focus.

Enough talk lets get to the photos…

Looking through the viewfinder of the flipping car and only seeing a blur was scary as I did not know what I would see when the car became in focus…

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/800th, Aperture Priority 

When a car is flying through the air flipping, going over a four foot wall isn’t that hard. Hell Ive seen it happen before.

The car is now in focus enough that I can see half of the car on MY SIDE of the wall. The next few milliseconds will determine if I keep shooting or if I bail…

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

The focus finally locks on as Kramers car thankfully settles back on his side of the wall…

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority

At this point I fully expected him to land on his wheels and safely roll to a stop….

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

He rolled but not the kind of rolling to a stop I meant….

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

Kramers car would begin a series of rolls…

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/500th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/500th, Aperture Priority

This crash is as close as I can recall ever having a car barrel roll past me…

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/320th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/320th, Aperture Priority

I always keep my backup camera in a mode called “Aperture Priority”  That enables me to simply grab the camera at a moments notice and usually get a semi accurate exposure from the camera.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 200iso, f6.3, 1/200th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/200th, Aperture Priority

It was a little darker out than it had been earlier so I had my ISO setting (it controls the cameras sensitivity to light) lower than it should have been causing a slower shutter speed than I would like in a situation like this…

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/250th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/250th, Aperture Priority

I had a couple semi blurry photos in there but otherwise it worked out ok…

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/250th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/250th, Aperture Priority

Note the “Door Ajar” sticker on the passenger side door as it opens….

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

Prior to flying off….

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/500th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/500th, Aperture Priority

At least the sponsors logo was facing the camera as it flew off….

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

I’m proud of myself for never zooming all the way out to 70mm on my 70-200mm lens as he crashed past me. 85mm was as wide as I went…

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/640th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/640th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/500th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/500th, Aperture Priority

The Lazarus chassis protected Deric Kramer perfectly. As it did pro stock driver V. Gaines who crashed last month

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/400th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/400th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority

Despite how close he was flipping cross the asphalt track past me I don’t remember hearing any sound due to being so zoned in on getting the shot…

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/1250th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/1250th, Aperture Priority

The accident seemed to go on forever…

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/640th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/640th, Aperture Priority

The destroyed Dodge eventually settled on its roof….

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority

Where it would come to a grinding halt…

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/500th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f6.3, 1/500th, Aperture Priority

Deric Kramer was quickly out of the car where the equally quick NHRA Safety Safari was on hand to ensure he was ok. Which he was…

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f7.1, 1/500th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f7.1, 1/500th, Aperture Priority

The same could not be said for his car though..

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f7.1, 1/320th, Aperture Priority

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f7.1, 1/320th, Aperture Priority

Kramer already vows to be back.

After the crash I figured out the camera malfunction was caused by a bad flash card. I took it out and put a different one in and the camera began to work just fine. Took the bad card and put it in one of my other 1Dx’s and the camera stopped working as well.

Its a great lesson to not be cheap and use old flash cards for too long. With how cheap they are these days its wise to not go more than a year before replacing cards.

Here is the video of the accident. (in the shutdown area on the left wall you can see me shooting)


 
Posted in Crash, Drag Racing, Las Vegas, NHRA, Racing, Sports   Leave a comment

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