Season 1. Blog 7.
Welcome back Friend,
This past Saturday, October 13th, 2018, I got to venture to Lincoln Speedway, and BAPS Motor Speedway for their last races of the season, for 410’s and 358’s (two divisions that I follow the most in the Central PA racing area). My Saturday started off like many others over this summer, double checking my camera bag was packed and ready to go. But this Saturday, it slightly changed, as the temperature was calling for a high of 55 degrees, so I decided to grab some extra “warmer” clothes, in hopes the 45 degree weather at night, was a myth for the evening. Sadly, it wasn’t a myth and I was glad I was prepared! The only sad part about this time of the year, is that it’s a cold reminder that my race season in PA is soon over. In this case, Saturday, October 13th, was the last 358 sprint car race day of the season. But I still have the Tuscarora 50, coming up on October 27th, and that will conclude my 2018 race season.
This past Saturday went extremely fast, as I found myself running around, everywhere. 6.51 miles, or 14,479 steps, to be exact (according to my Apple Watch). Wow. I have never realized how much I actually move, when I’m at races, until now.
I wanted to share a few of my “better” images from this past Saturday’s racing action, at Lincoln and BAPS. You can also find complete albums to BAPS and Lincoln, by clicking on the hyperlinked (or red text) track name, as well. While taking most of these shots, I’ve never actually explained the technique that I use. As you can see my shutter speed isn’t necessarily the quickest, but rather on the slow side (mostly ranging around 1/250th or so). I tend to pan a lot with my subjects, while having a expanded focal point on my subject, to hold focus as I pan, and while the cars are moving about the racetrack. This is what creates the much desired blurred background, along with the shallow depth of field or aperture of my lens, f/4. Here are a few of my favorite shots, paired with the exact information that was used in capturing these shots, from this past weekend:
From Turn 3 at Lincoln Speedway:
From THE TOP OF TURN 2 at Lincoln Speedway:
2018 Lincoln Speedway 358 Sprint Track Champion
First and foremost, this weekend was special for me in a few different ways. It is no secret that my boyfriend is Troy Wagaman Jr., is the pilot of the WB Motorsports #19, 358 sprint car team. Troy & his team had been leading the points series at Lincoln Speedway for a little while, and would need to take the green for the make-up feature to be crowned 2018 Lincoln Speedway 358 Sprints Track Champion. I have never felt so proud in my life, to hear that news come across the loud speaker. I also got to watch him finish 3rd, from starting 10th, in the make-up feature, and would watch him race a heat race and finish 4th, from 7th in the heat race, before cutting short for time, to make it to BAPS in the same day. To say that I am proud, is a general understatement. All of their team’s hard work throughout the year and off season, makes it all worth it.
ACTION AT BAPS
358 Ultimate Hard Charger Award Was Presented
Saturday night, I got to present my award, the “358 Ultimate Hard Charger Award” from selling posters, to Doug Hammaker, the winner from the make up feature at BAPS & also, the 358 Sprint Car Summer Series winner. I raised $340 for this award, from selling posters, that were $5, each. I was pretty surprised raising that much money as I was aiming for $300, as my goal at the beginning, when I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to give back to the sport. I can’t thank Kevin Nouse enough, for letting me be apart of the Summer Series, in a small way. This award was set up to go along with the format of the summer series. Essentially, each driver had to race in each race across the 7 race series (6 races were run, due to one cancellation), and each driver would be given 1 point for each car that was passed in their heat race and in the feature. It was very fair, and pretty neat to see how many cars each driver actually passed within a 6 race period. I got to keep track of everything, statistically, which was actually fun! I didn’t realize how much work was going to go into handling an award, of this magnitude, but I’m grateful that I got the opportunity. Along with the teams, I got to travel to BAPS, Lincoln, Path Valley, Williams Grove, and Port Royal, to keep track of all of these statistics, where the 358 series was run. All in all, it was incredibly good racing, throughout this series, and very entertaining to who could pass the most cars each night!
Doug had passed 50+ by the end of the make up feature, at BAPS Saturday night, and Troy Wagaman Jr. had also passed more than 45+ cars, who was second. In addition to the money, Doug also was presented a Killer Mile Motorsports logo tee, and a few KMM stickers.
I have quite alot of people that made this possible and I would like to take a moment to thank. First and foremost, thank you to all of the race fans and friends that helped me out, by purchasing a poster, or donating to the award! It really was what sparked this award, and made it special! Also, thank you to John Westbrook, owner of the #1W, for letting me use his sprint car and shop, to really set the poster’s overall appearance great! I also want to thank my photographer, Alan Pototsky, owner of whileyoucheer.com, who donated his time and talent in creating this poster. I have worked with several times over the past few years, and his photography expertise is really incredible!
I never thought I would get to see that much sprint car action in one day. All in all, I was supposed to see 6 features, but due to the length of Lincoln’s show, and travel time to get to BAPS, and girlfriend duties to a race car driver - I had to leave prior to the 410 feature & 358 feature, to sign in Troy & pull his pill at BAPS, while the WB Motorsports crew went to pick up the second car. I love getting to be apart of almost every facet of racing. It makes being at the track much more rewarding, enjoyable, and more fun. I ended up pulling Troy a 35, which would start him 6th in his heat race, and he finished 4th.
Here are a few of my photos from BAPS Motor Speedway, that I took and wanted to share. The pit shots are always my favorite and in my opinion tell a story from each evening. I can typically get pretty creative “in the zone” driver shots, prior to hot laps, or heat in the motor. Those are generally my favorite shots from the night. Seeing the drivers in their element, and focused, makes for my opinion - The best shots. I think once you get a connection with driver’s, and driver’s start to trust you, and understand what your doing - They will start to give you certain looks, that most other photographers will never be able to get, and that’s the best opportunity any photographer can have, when getting up close shots of driver’s.
Technique: Perfecting HOW TO Shoot thru the rock Screen
Most photographers, or fans, mention to me, that shooting thru the rock screen of a sprint car is difficult, and they can never understand how I get the driver in focus. And actually, yes it is difficult, but I take control over my lens, and change the settings from automatic, to manual. This change to manually operating the lens, takes out the focus automatically being focused to the rock screen, and it gives me the ability to shoot exactly what I want to be focused on. I use the focus ring on the lens, and slowly rotating the ring, to get the face perfectly focused, and sharp. Take a look at the photo of Troy, and you will notice the rock screen is blurry, and not in focus. What I just described, is how I achieve shots like this.
Pit Shots from BAPS
Turn 1 / Turn 2 Shots from BAPS
From Turn 3, Time Trials
Special Team Shoots
I got to shoot for a couple of teams while I was at Lincoln & BAPS, which was a blast. Working for teams is one of the most rewarding things, because of a few different reasons. You get to meet the drivers and crews, and make more connections that you normally wouldn’t get to do, just walking through the pits. The proof albums have been uploaded, for those teams to review.
Thank you to all of the teams that have worked with me in the 2018 race season. If this is something you think would be perfect for your team for next year, please feel free to contact me to start the process. I would love to work with you, as well!
Special Thanks To BAPS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
This past Saturday was my last trip to BAPS, scheduled for the 2018 season. I want to thank Kolten Gouse, Scott Gobrecht, and the entire crew at BAPS. The show started later than expected, due to scheduling conflicts by another track, and BAPS was done with the entire show (plus the make-up feature & group time trials) by 9:30pm. I was impressed. I’m sure a lot of the teams were thankful, as many pulled the double, or quadruple header that day!
Also, I wanted to thank you, BAPS Motor Speedway, for allowing me to come up, for the past 3 years, and shoot photos. I firmly believe when I first started shooting sprint car racing, the BAPS track has played a huge role to my success as a racing photographer. I could not be more thankful for the connections I have made with the track officials, staff, ownership, etc.
Don’t forget to check in next Wednesday, October 24th, for the first part 1 of “Women in Motorsports” blog post series, showcasing a few remarkable women across the country who are behind the scenes of the Motorsports industry, working hard to keep our sport in a positive image and moving forward in a positive way. I think you will enjoy this special series!