In the Rain, In Daytona …In the Pits…


At first the title sounded a lot like the theme for a song,

( I think it may very well be, in the near future)

but in actuality…

This is another racing themed blog…or something to that effect.

I mentioned some time back that ‘we’ made history with the win in the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500…

Well, today we made history again…

Although a somewhat dubious history…and ‘we’ had very little say-so…

In the 54 years of the running of the Daytona 500, NEVER has it been rained out.

Until today!


I was/am here to cover/photograph the #98 Curb/Agajanian entry,

driven by Michael McDowell.

Michael was one of the four drivers,

the ‘old man’ (at age 28) of the #6 car that took 3rd in the Rolex 24 a month ago.

He managed to drive his way into the 500 by finishing ahead of just the right people in a ‘Duel’ on the Thursday before the scheduled 500. 

(A side note on this photo.  When you are searching for something different, hopefully unique, sometimes you have to make the $25 investment in a T-shirt and then find someone to wear it for a few minutes…

Now, granted, this may have its pitfalls. As in any sport, there are fans who will refuse to ‘degrade’ themselves by being anywhere near an opponent’s colors.  I mean, try to get a Manchester United fan to put on a Liverpool jersey…or a New England Patriot to wear Eli Manning’s number…

I lucked out…!)


I flew down from Nashville on Thursday morning so that I could be here for the ‘Duel’,

Then came to the track Friday at noon for the Nationwide qualifying…..

Wait a minute….I don’t need to go into those details.

If you are a race fan, then you probably know what goes on at ‘Speed Week’.

If your interest is in the ‘glamorous’ life of a photographer, it has been 4 days, and counting, of sometimes shooting the obligatory shots, some time looking for the outstanding shot…the uncommon…

some time soul-searching, and about 12 hours per day walking on asphalt or concrete, with ear plugs in, surrounded by the smell of fuel and burned rubber, and the knowledge that a beach is a mere 5 unattainable miles away…!!!


They brought out the trucks (several times)  that are fitted with jet engines which are normally used to blow debris off the track, but no sooner than they had made a couple of passes, the rain would start again. The jets were no more effective than my hotel room hair dryer was on my shoes later in the evening.

(There’s that ‘glamour’ again!)

Monday, a.m…At this point in the narrative, I am sitting in my car counting how often the windshield wipers have to swipe to clear the windshield.

Pretty often!

It’s noon, the  rescheduled start time, but the rain is still coming, with only a 10% chance that it will stop.

And then there will be two hours of jet-drying.

I think I will be throwing in the towel…

(Although I don’t think ‘the towel’ will help much on this one!)

Or waving the red flag, whichever is most appropriate!

More to come…

Okay…I stayed.

Race rescheduled for 7 p.m.

Back to the track at 1 to try to take care of one of the ‘apprehensions’ that I mentioned in the last race post.

     I had the wrong, or inadequate credentials for what I needed. Several phone calls and texts later, the driver, Michael McDowell, was able to upgrade me.

While I’m on the subject of the apprehensions, one of the ‘official’ photographers ‘fingered’ me…

I was in the pit next to the team I was covering when I saw him nod at one of the firemen and give a slight point in my direction.  The fireman walked over and told me I had to be ‘behind the yellow line’.

(I held my tongue…instead of asking him, “Where’s the fire?” or, “Oh, did you come talk to me because I have on a HOT pass?”)

That wasn’t the first time I witnessed a photographer ‘telling-on’ another during the weekend.

C’mon guys…how petty!

I know everybody is struggling for work, but I am NOT competing with you!

     I have a client who is a friend and if you want to send him some of your work, then do it!  Maybe he will prefer your style…but being a tattle-tale belittles us all!

Why not ask what I’m doing and maybe we can share the space…?

(I know none of those guys are reading this, but I just wanted to vent a bit…)

Anyway, back to the track for night racing, which one might imagine is less than optimal for shooting cars flashing by at 200 mph.

This pit shot was NOT from behind the yellow line…!!!

You do what you can do, I guess. The  photo below, from the ‘grid’ before the race, may be one of my favorites.



And, as shown in the opening photo, I was intrigued with the ‘gas station’ and the space-suited crews working it.

All in all, despite the rain and delays

It turned out to be a pretty productive weekend, for me.  Some of the teams might have a different outlook.

I almost forgot…

the link to a past post… 


~ by rkpowers on March 1, 2012.

4 Responses to “In the Rain, In Daytona …In the Pits…”

  1. You didn’t happen to see what Montoya’s car did to one on those “hair dryers”?


  2. Yeah, actually that was my ‘cue’ to hit the road. I knew it was gonna be a looooong clean-up and our guy was well out of contention at that point.
    I’m just glad nobody was hurt in that explosion. I believe that is Montoya’s car sandwiched in the last picture above, during the Duel. Not a stellar weekend for him…or Danica Patrick, for that matter.




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