LOORRS wraps up the season at Firebird

After a few weeks of shooting only NBA and NFL it was good to get back out to a race track for what is my last motorsports event of 2010, the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS) finale. With the race only being a 10 minute drive from my house I gotta say I was excited for the weekend. It did not disappoint.

2010 was my first year as the series photographer for LOORRS. A year prior I went to my first LOORRS race and was blown away by the great access and target rich environment for cool photos. Honestly, if you cannot produce awesome photos on a regular basis at these events you may as well just throw your camera away. Flying, flipping off road trucks sliding around the dirt makes it ridiculously easy to get impressive photos.

Ok lets get going here with some highlights from Friday.

Below, pro 4 unlimited driver Mart Hart fails minutes into the first practice session of the day. Cool pic huh?….

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/4000th, Manual

…..Sadly the pic becomes a whole lot less cool when I show you the uncropped version (below) where you can see what the original shot looked like as I chose the wrong lens. Lots of photographers would never show you their failures but I have no problem calling myself out!

While shooting the below shot of pro two unlimited driver Todd LeDuc as he got all crossed up in the air and flew sideways towards me as I hung out a photo hole in the catch fencing. After that shot I decided to move. Thanks Todd!

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Below, I enjoyed the layering look of trucks on three different planes of the photo. I probably should have worked that angle a bit more to get a cool moment but I was lazy.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 100iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual

During pro two unlimited qualifying I was shooting on the outside of turn one waiting to get some action. The action would be provided by driver Greg Adler as he came into the turn too fast and turned his truck over…

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 200iso, f5, 1/1250th, Aperture Priority

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 200iso, f5, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

The truck rolled over and was sliding on its roof and I figured thats how the crash would end but the nose of Adlers truck would end up digging into the dirt…..

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 200iso, f5, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

….and causing the truck to catch the dirt just right sending the truck into a slow motion headstand. Very acrobatic!

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 200iso, f5, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

Below, pro two unlimited driver Robby Woods (99) leads a large pack of drivers as he powers into turn two.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 100iso, f4, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

During Super Lite qualifying driver Kyle LeDuc (below) spits out flames as he drivers through the mogul section of the course.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 400iso, f5, 1/5000th, Aperture Priority

One thing you really notice while editing photos from these events is the insane punishment the vehicles take. Check out the shocks and suspension bottoming out as  pro buggy driver Jerry Whelchel makes a hard landing during qualifying.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 400iso, f5, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority

Below, pro buggy unlimited driver Myan Spaccarelli kicks up a rooster tail of dirt as he slides through a turn during qualifying.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

SR1 UTV driver Corry Weller takes the low line as unlimited UTV driver Robert Vanbeekum takes the high line, below.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 400iso, f6.3, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority

A beautiful sunset reflects off Firebird Lake as I walked to the parking lot following a fun day one of action.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f8, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

Saturday would be a long day of shooting with the championship races in all classes.

Below was the result of focusing on an inflatable Geico gecko with out of focus kart racers passing in the background.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 200iso, f5.6, 1/1250th, Aperture Priority

Below, junior 1 kart driver Preston Roben takes a jump down the front stretch during the race.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 200iso, f5, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

Junior 1 kart racer Carlye Lenk found herself on her roof in turn one during the race, below.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f4, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

In the middle of the day I was able to go up in the R-44 Lucas helicopter to do some aerials of the track.

Below is a view of the off road course at the edge of the Firebird International Raceway property.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 200iso, f5.6, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

Here is a view of the man made Firebird Lake. If you are not familiar with my blog here is an example of some of the insane action that goes on on this lake.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 200iso, f5.6, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

Below is an aerial view of the dragstrip at Firebird. Once again here is an example of some of the crazy crash photos you can get at this dragstrip.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 200iso, f5.6, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

Prior to landing I was able to fly over the track again and get a few aerial shots as limited buggy drivers raced the course.

Below, limited buggy driver Kyle Lucas kicks up dirt as he powers his way through a turn.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 500iso, f6.3, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority

Limited buggy driver Justin Smith gets some air as he races down the front stretch, below.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 500iso, f6.3, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority

Back on the ground it was time for the pro 4 race.

Below, Kyle LeDuc races through turn three.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 200iso, f5.6, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

Mart Hart (below) turns turtle for the second time of the weekend.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 200iso, f5.6, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

The big winner of the race (and the championship) was Rick Huseman, below.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f9, 1/250th, Manual with SB-800 Flash

The pro lite unlimited class is usually full of carnage and this race would be no different.

Below, Jimmy Stephensen pirouettes on his nose in turn two early in the race.

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

Not to be outdone, driver Rodrigo Ampudia would perform a similar feat in the same turn a few minutes later.

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

Stephensen wasn’t done yet though. Late in the race he would land sideways and slide over the edge of the track and nearly flipping, below. Not sure if it was dumb luck or skill but it was quite the impressive save.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 400iso, f5.6, 1/4000th, Aperture Priority

Pro lite unlimited driver Brian Deegan would end the season on a high note with the race victory……

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f8, 1/250th, Manual with SB-800 Flash

…. the big winner of the race, however, was Marty Hart who clinched the championship, below.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f9, 1/250th, Manual with SB-800 Flash

Below, Jacob Person loses bodywork off his truck as he leads R.J. Anderson through turn three.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 500iso, f5, 1/3200th, Aperture Priority

Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg would end the race as the 2010 championship, below. Doesn’t he look super happy?

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f10, 1/250th, Manual with SB-800 Flash

The final race of the day would be the much anticipated pro 2 unlimited race.

Below, Todd LeDuc races through a cloud of flying dirt and mud as he slides through turn three.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 500iso, f5, 1/1250th, Aperture Priority

Mike Johnson (31) leads a pack of drivers over jumps down the front stretch late in the race, below.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/250th, Manual

Johnson would make for another cool photo as he gets crossed up over a jump off the final turn, below.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 500iso, f5, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority

Eventual race winner (and 2010 champion) Rob MacCachren leads the field up the hill into turn two, below.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 320iso, f5.6, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

Following the race explosives went off around the track. Below, Carl Renezeder looks like he is driving through a war zone as an explosion takes place behind him.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 320iso, f5.6, 1/1250th, Aperture Priority

Sunday I would only be at the track for the final race of the day since I shot part of the Cardinals vs Broncos NFL game 40 miles away in Glendale.

Due to some fast (and felonious) driving I was able to make it to the track earlier than expected to catch the second half of the pro lite unlimited/unlimited buggy challenge cup.

Good thing I did as I shot the below frame of driver Matt Loiodice (below) as he flipped his truck past the advertising banner of his safety equipment provider. #dumbluck

Nikon D700, 400mm, 320iso, f5.6, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

Jimmy Stephensen was still at it being very photographic as he landed his truck on two wheels off a jump, below.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f5.6, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority

Brian Deegan, below, runs up front late in the race.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f5.6, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

Racers are silhouetted as they drive into the sun heading into turn one, below.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f5.6, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority

After nearly winning the race Brian Deegan would finish second. In typical Deegan fashion he climbed atop his truck with his fire suit unzipped to show off for the ladies…. I think?

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f10, 1/250th, Manual with SB-800 Flash

The last race of the day (and 2010 season) would be the much anticpated pro 2 vs pro 4 race where over 30 trucks would be on the track at once racing for a 30K first place prize in the Challenge Cup.

The Toyota pace truck leads the field through turn one prior to the start of the race.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 320iso, f5.6, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority

As the pro 2 drivers took the green flag (below) you can see the faster pro 4 trucks getting the green flag in turn three of the track.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 320iso, f5.6, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

Below, Todd LeDuc leads Rodrigo Ampudio and Bryce Menzies around the turn as the out of focus truck of Kevin Probst takes a jump in the foreground.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority

Pro 2 unlimited driver Nick Tyree barrel rolls through turn one, below.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority

Not to be outdone pro 4 drivers Rick Huseman (left) and Mike Johnson do a tandem barrel roll in turn two, below.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority

The late afternoon light made for some pretty photos such as the below shot of Robby Woods as he led Rob MacCachren through turn three.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

The carnage would not yet be finished as pro 4 driver Josh Merrell would barrel roll wildly in turn one, below.

Nikon D700, 400mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/3200th, Aperture Priority

Nikon D700, 400mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority

The winner of the biggest race of the season would be Kyle LeDuc. Below he celebrates atop his truck in victory lane.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f8, 1/250th, Manual with SB-800 Flash

At the end of the podium celebration I got down low and close to the stage to shoot wide for the confetti shot.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f5, 1/250th, Manual with SB-800 Flash

Kyle LeDuc poses with his trophies and oversized check for 30k, below.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f5, 1/250th, Manual with SB-800 Flash

And with that my 2010 motorsports season comes to an end.

Can’t wait till 2011!

To take a look at all my images CLICK HERE.

One Response to “LOORRS wraps up the season at Firebird”

  1. When I see a car flying upside down somewhere, I don’t even bother looking at the byline anymore. I know who shot it.

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