Yes, this is 30+ days late… but it happens. The first time I took photos at a track event was at Firebird International Raceway – Main -08’. It was a time for firsts – it was also my first time there. I was there with a 500mm lens. I was seated at the top of the bleachers and I was still able to get nice tight photos. Yes, this sounds like a very lazy way to take photos but it worked. When I was going over the photos, I realized that there was something I liked about those photos. I don’t know if this was due to the lens, the track environment or a combination of both.
Besides the now defunct PIR, most tracks in Arizona do not have a back drop other than the desert. At times the cars look as if they are out there “off-roading” in the middle of nowhere. The FIR Main configuration has Grandstands on both sides of the straightaway. This feature and the billboards around the tower give FIR Main a feeling of a track with a much higher presence.
I have not been back at Main since and was excited to see if I could get the same results as before. I was also waiting to see some Honda Challenge action… at night!
The last time I was here, I did not stay for the night event. The night event also brought the Modified Magazine Tuner Shootout so I knew that a lot of people would be attending. Unfortunately I missed most of the morning and late afternoon sessions due to work. The morning session had an exciting Honda Challenge HC2 at the West track. Our good friend Simon Pavlick qualified 1st and was battling most of the race to defend his position. Even though he was first when he went through the checker flag, his position had to be relinquished due to tire regulations. Next time Simon!
Later that day, Phil Robles joined me to watch some close action. While walking around the pits with Phil, a lot of people came and asked him the same question. “Phil how come you are not driving?” and “When is your car going to be ready?”. Now I am going to say some of these people will not be happy when he returns because well…he is going to be fast. Seeing Phil as a spectator was a little different, he was making me laugh so hard with some of the things he was saying. However, I could tell he was dying to be out there.
I heard a few drivers say they were not fans of driving Main. Some prefer East or West over Main. I think I need to find out why this is the case but that will be another story. From a fan/photo perspective, I think Main has multiple places where you can see great racing and take good photos. I just wished I had that 500mm with me.
As a result of staying for the night events. I wanted to see how far I could push the camera while still getting some useful results. Helen met Phil and myself to watch the Honda Challenge Race on Main at night. Geri Amani was to be piloting the #624 DC2. Unfortunately, due to mechanical problems, she was not able to start the race. HCR and the Big Bore Race did not disappoint, both had incredible race action throughout the entire race.
Overall the day was a lot of fun…even with the unseasonable warm weather we got to see some close action racing and some night racing. Hopefully it won’t be another four years until I return.