On The Road Again!

It’s been a busy month of May for me! Over 26 days I have been on the road 19 days, driven 3,735 miles, and photographed 19 different events/sessions for 3 different clients. 13,932 images in total. No wonder I’m tired!

First up was the Winn Dixie 300 and the Geico 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway, where Dale Jr. won the 500.

 

May 3, 2015; Talladega, AL, USA; NASCAR crew chief Chad Knaus and Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) before the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 3, 2015; Talladega, AL, USA; NASCAR crew chief Chad Knaus and Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) before the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 3, 2015; Talladega, AL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Gordon (24) and driver Jimmie Johnson (48) and driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) and driver Kevin Harvick (4) and driver Carl Edwards (19) and driver Denny Hamlin (11) during the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 3, 2015; Talladega, AL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Gordon (24) and driver Jimmie Johnson (48) and driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) and driver Kevin Harvick (4) and driver Carl Edwards (19) and driver Denny Hamlin (11) during the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 3, 2015; Talladega, AL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) makes a phone call from victory lane after winning the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 3, 2015; Talladega, AL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) makes a phone call from victory lane after winning the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 3, 2015; Talladega, AL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) and driver Jimmie Johnson (48) after winning the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 3, 2015; Talladega, AL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) and driver Jimmie Johnson (48) after winning the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 3, 2015; Talladega, AL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) celebrates from victory lane after winning the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 3, 2015; Talladega, AL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) celebrates from victory lane after winning the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

 

From Talladega I traveled west and had 2 days of some kick butt posed action shoots for one of my favorite clients. Too bad it’s all secret squirrel stuff until the images are published. 🙁

 

I made it back home for a day or two then headed off to Raleigh to help my very good friend and most excellent photographer  Bennett Scarborough  photograph the attendees of a new WakeMed Hospital grand opening. It was a super cool event that was VERY well organized, and we set up two different locations in one large room and shot straight to dye sub printers…everyone that came through recieved a couple of free 5X7’s before they even left the room.

 

Twinkle from Wake Med

Twinkle from WakeMed

Wake Med Medical

WakeMed Medical

Bennett workin' hard at Wake Med

Bennett workin’ hard at WakeMed

 

Then back home for a few days then off to Charlotte for the NASCAR Sprint Showdown and All-Star races. Kyle Busch returned to racing after breaking his leg in a crash at Daytona earlier in the year, and Denny Hamlin won the All-Star race.

 

May 15, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) during an interview after practice for the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 15, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) during an interview after practice for the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

 

May 15, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer (15) leads during the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 15, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer (15) leads during the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 16, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) makes a pit stop during the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 16, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) makes a pit stop during the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 16, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) does a burn out after winning the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 16, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) does a burn out after winning the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 16, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) after winning the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 16, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) after winning the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

 

Another few days off then back to Charlotte for the Xfinity Hisense 300 and NASCAR’s longest race of the year, the Coca-Cola 600.

 

May 23, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; A crew member waits for NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Chase Elliott (9) (not pictured) to make a pit stop during the Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 23, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; A crew member waits for NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Chase Elliott (9) (not pictured) to make a pit stop during the Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 23, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Austin Dillon (33) does a burnout after winning the Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 23, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Austin Dillon (33) does a burnout after winning the Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 23, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Austin Dillon (33) celebrates winning the Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 23, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Austin Dillon (33) celebrates winning the Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

 

And finally, the Coca-Cola 600 won by Carl Edwards! (with a little ZZ Top thrown in)

 

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; The band ZZ Top performs for members of the U.S. Military and fans before the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; The band ZZ Top performs for members of the U.S. Military and fans before the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; F-18's fly over before the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; F-18’s fly over before the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; Members of the US Military perform an exercise before the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; Members of the US Military perform an exercise before the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards (19) poses for a picture with members of the military before the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards (19) poses for a picture with members of the military before the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 21, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Gordon (24) has a selfie taken with fans before qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 21, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Gordon (24) has a selfie taken with fans before qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 21, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Danica Patrick (10) before qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 21, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Danica Patrick (10) before qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 21, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) rides a motorized cooler to a press conference before qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 21, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) rides a motorized cooler to a press conference before qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; General view during the  NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; General view during the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Matt Kenseth (20) and driver Joey Logano (22) lead a pack of cars during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Matt Kenseth (20) and driver Joey Logano (22) lead a pack of cars during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards (19) and his crew celebrates winning the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards (19) and his crew celebrates winning the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards (19) crew celebrates winning the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards (19) crew celebrates winning the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards (19) celebrates winning the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards (19) celebrates winning the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards (19) celebrates winning the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2015; Concord, NC, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards (19) celebrates winning the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

 

It was a wild and crazy 26 days! As always, I want to give a huge shoutout to Canon Professional Services for their AMAZING support and gear (I had images shot at ISO 12,800 run published across the nation)  and also to Think Tank Photo for their amazing bags and gear. One last shoutout to Robert Caplin and The Photo Brigade for keeping me awake with all of the podcasts, pretty sure I listened to every single one of them while driving!

A Ferris Wheel, Rain, Fire, Coach Jones, & a Backflip…It’s Bristol Baby!

I have always enjoyed photographing the “spring” race at Bristol, and as usual we had everything from 70 degrees and sunny to rain to snow flurries. My buddy Andrew Weber came down as well, and we were both pretty happy with our take for USA Today Sports Images at the rain delayed cup race. Here’s a few of my favorites!

 

Video, NASCAR, and Richard Petty. Yes, THAT Richard Petty…

I was covering the Michigan race this June when I got a call from USA Today late Friday asking if I was able to shoot video. Sure!, I say, knowing that most of my video gear was back at my house about 500 miles away…

Thanks to Amazon Prime next day Saturday delivery, I managed to get a few video lights and a Rode VideoMic sent to me. Went to Best Buy and bought the “nicest” tripod they had (think it’s in the trash now), and by Sunday morning I was good to go. What followed was one of the coolest things I have ever been a part of.

I have been a big NASCAR fan my entire life, and of everything that I get to cover I get more excited over NASCAR than anything else. Which is not necessarily a good thing, I have to work a bit at controlling my emotions, especially when doing something really cool 🙂

Sunday morning I got hooked up with USA Today NASCAR writer Nate Ryan and we proceeded to Mr. Petty’s motorhome. I had about 10 minutes to get setup (as nice as The King’s motorhome is, it’s a pretty dark place for video/photography). Overall things went very well (wish I had my lav mic) but it was a super simple shoot on my end.

What impressed me the most was listening to Mr. Petty discuss everything from the global economy to “partnerships” (not “sponsorships”) to the newspaper industry to about 30 other wide ranging topics. I’m here to to tell you, The King is one intelligent dude! My favorite part was during a break I asked him if he by chance remembered the name Tootle Estes (an East Tn racing legend, my dad built dirt track cars for him back in the 50’s) and Mr. Petty replied, “Tootle from East TN, Knoxville I think?”. Just wow, Tootle passed away in the early 80’s.

Big Thanks to Nate Ryan and the rest of the gang at USA Today for the great work on the video, and also to the 43 crew for giving me great access to shoot during the race. And of course a HUGE thanks to Mr. Petty for his time and wonderful hospitality!

Here’s my one crappy cell phone image I took during the shoot, followed by the video. Enjoy!

Nate Ryan interviews Richard Petty for an USA Today video.

Nate Ryan interviews Richard Petty for an USA Today video.

 

It’s Bristol Baby!!!

After a break from NASCAR for awhile, I returned to Bristol Motor Speedway to cover last weekend’s races. As always, Bristol never fails to entertain! The Nationwide race didn’t offer much in the way of photographs, so all these are from Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night race.

First we had Hank Williams Jr. performing the pre race concert.

NASCAR: Irwin Tools Night Race

 

During the driver introductions, I assisted my buddy Andrew Weber as the drivers were introduced by holding a flash on the opposite side of the ramp from him. Made for some cool images which can be seen over at Andrew’s Blog. The coolest intro was JJ Yeley and his daughter coming out to Little Red Riding Hood.

NASCAR: Irwin Tools Night Race

 

Jeff Gluck at USA Today videoed the intros…

 

I decided to hang out on the roof for the evening and my primary goal was to cover the wrecks and transmit them ASAP.

NASCAR: Irwin Tools Night Race

 

Clint Bowyer (15) and Bobby Labonte (47) crash.

NASCAR: Irwin Tools Night Race

 

Jeff Burton (31) crashes.

NASCAR: Irwin Tools Night Race

 

There was not much left of Jimmie Johnson’s car when returned to the track after a wreck.

NASCAR: Irwin Tools Night Race

 

Kevin Harvick (29) wrecks between turns 3 and 4.

NASCAR: Irwin Tools Night Race

 

Ken Schrader (32) and Martin Truex Jr. (56) after crashing.

NASCAR: Irwin Tools Night Race

 

After that big crash the race was red flagged for a short period.

NASCAR: Irwin Tools Night Race

 

The race came down to Matt Kenseth (20) and Kasey Kahne (5).

NASCAR: Irwin Tools Night Race

 

Matt Kenseth (20) beats Kasey Kahne (5) to take the checkered flag.

NASCAR: Irwin Tools Night Race

 

Hope you enjoyed! The full set of my and Andrew’s images are at http://www.usatodaysportsimages.com/setImages/155361 Next up for me is the season opener University of Tennessee football game this Saturday against Austin-Peay, IT’S FOOTBALL TIME!

NASCAR Race and a Double Rainbow?

After a whirlwind tour of several NASCAR races, seems like I finally have enough time to get back to sharing some of my work on the website! Last week I was heading home from Sunday’s race in Kentucky (yes, Sunday…not Saturday night…postponed due to rain) and noticed a rainbow appear. It was nice, but I did not feel like pulling over on the side of I-75 South to take pictures of “just” a rainbow. In a few miles it became a double rainbow and of course I decided that was good enough reason to stop 🙂

They say sometimes that being lucky is better than being good, think I nailed that right here with the images of Greg Biffle’s car hauler! Even better, I happen to know some folks in the Roush Fenway Racing organization and they seem to like it as much as I did. Head on over to their facebook page to see what I mean and enjoy!

NASCAR Sprint Cup: Quaker State 400

Floods, Fires, Wrecks, and Darkness. This is Talladega!

It was just five and a half years ago that my wife and I attended the fall NASCAR race in Talladega. It was our first time there and we really enjoyed the trip but what I will always remember about that trip is something that changed my life. A good friend of mine heard we were going to the race and insisted that I take along a DSLR camera that he was trying to sell. I did not really want to take the big thing along, but my friend (Jim Norman) was pretty aggressive and I finally gave in and took him up on his offer.

I had no idea how to operate the camera, did not know how it worked, and really had no clue about what I was doing…but by the time we were heading home I was absolutely in love with photography. I bought the camera and a lens, started studying, shot everything I could, and got frustrated as you know what. Luckily I stumbled across a non credit digital photography class at UT that kept me from throwing the camera off of a cliff, and slowly but surely began to learn and understand what I was doing. After a few more classes and a ton of time reading and shooting, I knew that I was going to be making a drastic career change 🙂

Fast forward to last weekend, where I covered the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR race at Talladega for USA Today Sports Images…it felt like my own homecoming. It took me a day or so to get the layout and flow of the track figured out (HUGE thanks to everyone who helped me get going there, especially Marvin, J.D, and Mark), but racing is racing and I was pretty happy by the time the race ended Sunday night.

Yep, I said Sunday night. And no, this track does not have lights…Sunday’s race ended around 7:15 CDT and Saturday’s ran until 7:30 or so. Saturday’s race started out with a flood and ended with a fire. Sounds like a typical weekend Talladega race to me! After the track got dried, we finally got around to running the Nationwide Aaron’s 312. It was cold and wet, and the race was not completed until 7:30 PM CDT.

 

 

By the time Sunday rolled around we all felt the weather was going to be a factor again. And we were right. I did not cover much racing action because we had three other photographers there, so I was responsible for driver introductions, pre-race stuff, the Denny Hamlin story, pit and garage areas, and victory lane. All went well for a while, then we had a small rain shower but NASCAR was able to get the track almost dry before a huge storm rolled through the area. After a long rain delay they were able to get the track dry again, and finally the race was over around 7:15 PM CDT. Big congrats to David Ragan on the win!

 

 

So I learned a lot about covering large tracks and really appreciate all the help I received. You can see our full take from the Nationwide Race here and the Sprint Cup Race here. Up next for me is the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway at the end of the month. Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

May 6, 2013 issue of USA Today

May 6, 2013 issue of USA Today

 

Bristol Food City 500 March 2012

So in between getting all of my gear stolen and finally getting it replaced (HUGE thanks to PMR, Jerry, and Russ for loaning me many thousands of dollars worth of gear through this time!), we decided to have a few NASCAR races in Bristol, TN. Thanks to my Dad (hey Son, see if you can crawl up the track in that corner right there…funny ha-ha) I’ve been hanging around this track since I was 8 years old, and for years it’s been THE sold-out-the-hardest-ticket-to-get-in-NASCAR kind of crazy. Not anymore, since they resurfaced/re-configured the track it’s nothing short of boring, and I do not see how anyone who owns a motel up there can sleep at night (Super 8, 20 miles from the track, $354.06 for two nights), but Bruton Smith is hard at work on at least the track part, and that’s a good thing.

But as always, It’s Bristol Baby!, and although it’s still the most strenuous thing I typically cover, it’s still one of the coolest. Where else can you photograph Trevor Bayne, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger, and Sarah Palin all in the same day? 🙂

Here’s my two favorites from the week…

 

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Food City 500

Mar 18, 2012; Bristol, TN, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) and his wife Chandra Johnson and their daughter Genevieve Johnson during the national anthem prior to the start of Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Food City 500

Mar 18, 2012; Bristol, TN, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) leads the pack during the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE

And I finally had something run in color in USA Today 🙂

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Food City 500

Mar 19, 2012 USA Today