Now, I’ve been to a NASCAR race and all of that, but this was definitely a first.
And truly, honestly, not going to lie, it was far dirtier than I could have ever anticipated. Thank goodness Nikon knows how to make a solid camera.
This got messy.
We had an “in” with the Bocook brothers. Car 1A and 1B.
And, definitely a shout-out to them, a major thank you is in order. They gave us access to their world.
As usual, got there when they did.
Documented the entire process of getting ready, the weigh-in and measuring, the time trials, the whole thing…
I say “we”… my friend, fellow photojournalist Philip Holsinger. He’s over at http://www.flipholsinger.com and has been doing this stuff as long as I’ve been alive.
But it wasn’t just the racing, its the entire culture surrounding it.
This particular evening I was in Portsmouth, OH, at the raceway there.
Under some pretty ominous clouds that ended up dumping a little rain on the whole proceedings, delayed everything an hour or so.
I had never seen one of these cars run around a track. At least, I had not paid attention to it if I had on videos or junk online.
But, this time, I was in the infield… its hard not to notice and its rather dangerous if you’re not aware at all times where the cars are.
…they pretty much slide around the turns.
Well, there’s no “pretty much” to it. They do.
The cars have so much torque they actually carry the front left tire around the turns.
No straight-up sissy driving like those paved-track drivers.
But, there are a number of heats and lots of waiting around tinkering while other classes of cars are taking their runs.
Unless you blow a tire in your time trials. By the way, the circular scuff on the side of the car above… yeah, that’s not for decoration.
There’s not really a “pit” like in the standard NASCAR but the behind the scenes area serves just as well for that.
Its a family affair…
The Bocook brothers’ entire families come out to support them.
And then, its time to race…
As I mentioned, there are a number of other classifications of cars. The original “stock cars” are just that – modified stock cars. Then, there are the Outlaw class and what are called “late model,” the cars that barely resemble a production car and are built from scratch.
There’s not really a way to describe what’s going on here, how dirty it is, the clods of mud and dirt and fine dust pelting you that has been thrown from the wheels of these tires as they grip the track, their driver’s hoping that nothing will just break and let go.
And the noise. The sound. The human voice cannot be heard over these cars when they are this close.
Of course I was wearing sun-glasses (yes, at night) and ear-plugs. My cameras were taking quite a bit of abuse, chunks of mud and rocks pelting them instead of my face.
When the cars come back into the pit, they’ve been running so hot for so long, they have to be cooled down.
Anyways, it was a great thing to do on a Saturday night for most of the day. Genuinely enjoyable and something fun to photography.
Again, a major thank you to the Bocook brothers. Stay safe and good luck on the tracks.
For the rest of you, stay tuned…