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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pressing NASCAR

NASCAR California Auto RacingMatt Kenseth in his Carhartt Ford #17 pulls out from the garage to enter the track for the Auto Club 500 practice at the California Speedway in Fontana,Calif., Feb. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Eric Reed)

NASCAR California Auto RacingTony Stewart, driver of car 14 after qualifying 11th for Sunday's Auto Club 500 at the California Speedway in Fontana,Calif., Feb. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Eric Reed)

What makes a left turn for 500 miles. Well, this weekend its about 50 drivers going 186 MPH during the Auto Club 500. Friday was practice and qualifying and it was for me as well. On assignment for the Associated Press this weekend at the California Speedway I was in practice mode. I have shot about 18 races here in Fontana but I had a break for two or three years, which had me scrambling and begging for information. You see, when it comes to celebrity car racing I am not a fan so playing catchup with the who's who on the track and in the garage was my speed Friday.

NASCARIn the media lounge at lunch during the Auto Club 500 qualifying at the California Speedway in Fontana,Calif., Feb. 20, 2009. (Eric Reed/photographer)

"Look for guys wearing the driver (overall type) suits and wrestler type shoes." my good friend and NASCAR mentor Will Lester tells me while we try and not get run over by cars and carts of equipment, constantly stuffing my earplugs further into my skull. It was a 12 hour day of shooting and moving pictures, shooting and moving again. Trying to keep up with the fastest and well-known drivers and constantly jockeying for position with scores of other photographers from around the world. One cool caveat to a long day was seeing my pictures in publications world-wide in a Google search the next morning.



A fourteen-hour-Sunday left me scrambling for my chiropractor's number Monday morning. Two valuable things I learned on Friday, that luckily I remembered on race day, were: wheeled luggage and noise-canceling headphones. Both made the walking commute from the car and the nose level more tolerable. See for your self...

I also worked on a shot (I thought went well) called the poll cam. A D700 with a 20mm atop a mono pod --extended-- and held out at arms length about 8 to 10 feet. Then triggered with a wireless remote. I set the camera on ISO 2000 and on P for "professional" mode because it was away from my eye. (Me and Blair in the Photo Media Center during the race for a test shot)
NASCAR California Auto Racing

NASCAR California Auto Racing
Matt Kenseth's team pulls a last, late-race pit-stop on a rain-induced yellow flag before going on to win the Auto Club 500 race at the California Speedway in Fontana,Calif., Feb. 22, 2009. (AP Photo/Eric Reed)

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