Drag Racing: Shooting In & Around the Pits

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

On Feb. 6-9, 2020 the NHRA kicked off the drag racing season with the 60th annual Lucas Oil Winternationals at Pomona, Calif.

The pit area at a drag race is the biggest car show that you’ll ever attend and many of the cars that you’ll see are truly works of art. When I saw this yellow and blue hot rod beneath a yellow canopy, I knew I had to make this photograph.

How I made this shot: It was captured with a Canon EOS 50D and Tamron’s AF18-200mm lens at 18mm. That lens gave a nice wide angle perspective that’s usually not possible with zoom lenses that have a long maximum focal length. Exposure was in Program mode at 1/400 sec at f/13 with ISO 400. A minus 1/3rd stop exposure compensation was used to punch up the colors.

How I made the below shot: This hot orange pickup truck was especially fast and drop dead gorgeous to look at but don’t poke your lens under a racer’s canopy without saying “Hi” and asking permission to make photographs. You can even offer to e-mail the driver one or more of the images as a thank you. Image was made with a Canon EOS 1D Mark IIN with EF 75-300mm IS zoom set at 240mm.

While a paid admission gets you into the pits at drag races, it won’t always get you close to the track. Make a friend and maybe you can get invited to the races as a member of the pit crew, which I was on this day, giving me better and closer access to the track. This position let me fill the frame with this drag bike (bottom) doing a burnout.