Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 500iso, f5, 1/640th

The Craftsman Truck Series race is usually one of the best races I shoot all year. Sadly this year was the exception to the rule and all my best images during the race were of the drunk fans.

But before the truck race it was NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying.

The above image was a shot I saw as Tony Stewart was being interviewed following his run. I was directly in line with the Speed Channel cameraman and I immediately noticed faces reflecting from the cameras lens. It then became a game of moving around slightly to get Stewarts face in the image. I was pretty happy with this photo because it is something unique that you don’t see everyday.

The crowd of media around the drivers after their run makes it very difficult to get clean images but I just did my best to find angles. This image of Jeff Gordon was decent because I was able to get his car in the background which is something I always try to do.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 100iso, f10, 1/250th

One of my clients had requested images of Jimmie Johnson for a story so after his run I followed him from his car into the garage area where he was mobbed by fans seeking autographs. It was a zoo but made for cool images that shows the rock star popularity of these drivers.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 100iso, f9, 1/250th

One of the last drivers to go out for qualifying was fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. When he exited his car to head towards the garage he was mobbed like an ice cream man at a fat camp.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 100iso, f9, 1/250th

My buddy Nigel Kinrade got a pretty funny photo of me in action while shooting Dale Jr. heading to his hauler. The reason I am not looking at him is with the crowd of people around him you have to keep an eye in front of you so you dont trip over a person or an object in the garage area.

Photo by Nigel Kinrade/Autostock

After all the fun of that it was time for the Truck race.

As the trucks got the green flag the fans were on their feet cheering the drivers on.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/1600th

One thing you will notice in the race coverage is a lack of racing/action shots. Not because I was lazy it was simply because the race was that boring.

I did some slower shutter speed shots to kill some time such as this image of Todd Bodine (30) leading Erik Darnell (99) and Matt Crafton (88).

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 100iso, f8, 1/60th

With the race being boring I spent a lot of time looking for interesting fan features to shoot while still keeping a diligent eye on the race action.

Midway through the race the first incident occured when Jack Sprague got turned sideways and drove right into the wall at speed.

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 800iso, f6.3, 1/2000th

After hitting the wall he was able to maintain control but the damage was substantial and he dragged parts around the track in a shower of sparks.

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 800iso, f6.3, 1/1250th

After that it was back to shooting fan photos when much to my joy some fans busted out a beer bong. The fans had a major fascination with getting females to take hits of beer.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 640iso, f6.3, 1/500th

Another participant was found a few minutes later and off to town she went.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 640iso, f2.8, 1/2000th

All the other fans busted out their cameras and camera phones to document the moment to share with their friends and families I’m sure.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 640iso, f2.8, 1/2500th

All the crowd cheering caught the attention of a Sheriff stationed on top of the stands near me. He slowly walked down the steps to the fans with the beer bong to a chorus of boos from the fans.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 640iso, f4, 1/1000th

The Sheriff spent a few minutes talking and gesturing with the fans and I thought he was telling them to put the beer bong away.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 640iso, f4, 1/1000th

Then I couldn’t believe what I saw next as he was raising his hands up and down getting the crowd cheering as he gave his support to a beer bong participant in action.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 640iso, f4, 1/1000th

All I can say is only in Talladega!

Back to more racing. In the later stages of the race the drivers began to get a little more aggressive and Colin Braun (6) and John Andretti (15) spun in traffic.

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 640iso, f4, 1/1000th

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 640iso, f4, 1/1000th

Under the caution from the spin it was back to fan features!

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 1000iso, f6.3, 1/800th

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 640iso, f4, 1/800th

And for those of you who can handle it lets look in a little closer!

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 1000iso, f6.3, 1/800th

Evidently light beer is healthier for you. His doctor would be proud.

In the end it came down to a last lap pass and Todd Bodine won the race.

Nikon D3, 600mm with 1.4 convertor (850mm), 1000iso, f5.6, 1/1250th

Todd poses for the photographers in Victory Lane.

Nikon D3, 680-200mm, 640iso, f7.1, 1/640th

Tomorrow is the important race. Should be fun.



Posted in NASCAR, Racing, Sports, Talladega   | 8 Comments

8 responses to “Talladega Day Three (lackluster truck race, stereotypical Nascar fans)”

  1. Guy Rhodes says:

    Whoooooooo Talladega Baby!!! Whoo!!!

  2. Geoff Bolte says:

    Always interesting to see something different from a race, these fans look like they were having a great time, race or not.

  3. Love the fan shots Mark. The close-up was not needed though lol. I guess ovals are always boring all the time.

  4. Lor Wor says:

    Your comments make the photos far more telling. Thanks for the insight. Its nice to also see the camera settings. I can head down to my local freeway and try to shoot similar (no joke).

    I’d be curious how many shots (of the actually race) you typically shoot?

  5. Marvin says:

    The guy with the nipples pierced must have been friends with your friend from Chili’s

  6. The problem with this experiment in daily blogging is that it makes me check this site 500 times today looking for the shots from the Cup race… I have great expectations!

    Seriously, thanks for sharing… you delight and inspire.

    Don J.

  7. Great shots!
    You have really captured the atmosphere – the busy life around the “game”.
    Well done!
    And thanks for sharing – quite interesting to read and watch!

  8. appears to be a timmy… with an unofficial racetrackbeerbongman beerbong…(period) The offical racetrackbeerbongman does condone all unofficial use of the official racetrackbeerbongman’s offical beerbong!

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