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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Shooting NASCAR
Paul Hayes, Photographer, Photo Editor
Littleton | NH | USA | Posted: 10:00 PM on 09.18.12
->> I have a press pass for a NASCAR event in New Hampshire this weekend. Has anyone else here shot NASCAR before? If so, where do you have access before and after the race (and what times does access open/close). And during the race what are the shooting locations, and can you travel freely between them?
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Matthew Jonas, Photo Editor, Photographer
Longmont | CO | USA | Posted: 10:14 PM on 09.18.12
->> It depends on what type of pass you have.

There are usually a couple different types with different access levels.

"Hot" passes give you access to a lot more than a "Cold" pass. There is usually a specific pass that will allow full access to garages, pit row and the inside shooting positions on the track.

So...it depends.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 10:28 PM on 09.18.12
->> If it's a "press" pass and not a "photo" pass you may be watching it from the stands....
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 10:37 PM on 09.18.12
->> Paul I will be there all weekend, I'm going up Thursday to pickup my credential and secure my spot in the workroom and hold a locker. Call or email me for a breakdown of what to expect in NH.... Hope you are hitting the media lobster fest Friday.....
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Sam Morris, Photographer
Henderson (Las Vegas) | NV | USA | Posted: 11:02 PM on 09.18.12
->> Paul, the first good move would be to take Eric up on his offer. After that, be sure to plan on getting there hours early (for example, if the race is at 11am, try and get there at 7am - I only have experience at two tracks, but I would advise it).

Time is short, but find out who the track photographer is and email/introduce yourself and ask him/her every question you might have. And do it this week, before the race. And have in mind what you want to photograph. It helps a lot if the person in charge knows what you want to do - be it general coverage or coverage of a certain driver.

Take earplugs, and have fun.
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 11:14 PM on 09.18.12
->> Just sent you a long email but forgot about hearing protection. I wear the small foam plugs ANY time I'm near the cars and keep a pair of hard shell earmuffs around my neck. There is never any warning when someone will start a car. The small foam earplugs will afford me enough protection short term until I get big muffs pulled on. The guys who do this a lot have fancy custom molded plugs so they don't have to wear the big muffs.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 7:17 AM on 09.19.12
->> What Eric and Sam said. The third loudest noise I've ever heard was a NASCAR vehicle starting up next to me without notice. I almost wet myself and the noise was more than painful.
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Bob Leverone, Photographer
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 9:58 AM on 09.19.12
->> LIDDY. You did wet yourself and a couple others standing nearby got wet. That damn Velcro fly never really worked.

Paul-be sure to use duct tape to make sure your ear protection doesn't fall out. I think Chuck will concur that you need at least three wraps around your head with the tape for it to last 500 miles.

They all try and turn left for the entire afternoon. Boring. It really gets fun when one of them forgets and goes right. Be ready.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 10:04 AM on 09.19.12
->> Mr. Leverone, get your facts straight please...that was Bob Bridges who stuck cigarette filters he found on the ground in his ears then duct taped his head, including his ears...that was not me. However, the first part of your post may have been accurate....8)
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Bradley Leeb, Photographer
Champaign | IL | USA | Posted: 10:09 AM on 09.19.12
->> OT: Ok, I'll bite. What were the first two loudest noises then?
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 12:53 PM on 09.19.12
->> First loudest.....a 105mm howitzer firing in Iraq....which brought me to my
knees it hurt so bad (and caused some hearing loss) . The second was a Harrier Jump Jet making a vertical take-off entirely too close to me. 8)
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Bob Leverone, Photographer
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 1:10 PM on 09.19.12
->> Well I apologize for any confusion that the esteemed Mr. Liddy would duct tape his ears down for a NASCAR race. I wasn't going to name the shooter here, but...it wasn't Chuck.

Now as you know, I am not the biggest NASCAR fan, but I do admit, I saw things you just can't make up before NASCAR got greedy and started cleaning things up for the Corporate dollar. NASCAR was a different beast when they gave away cartons of cigarettes away for free to the media. I remember when Foster's Beer was toying with getting involved and after a race in Charlotte, there were 50 gallon drums filled with ice and all the Foster's tankers you could ever want. Ahhh, those were the days.

I could go down memory lane here for hours, but very little would include actual cars racing around on tracks.
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Jon Gardiner, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 1:27 PM on 09.19.12
->> And it's Leverone with the WIN! Great history lesson which has always made me wish I had been born a few years earlier. I've shot just one NASCAR race in my career, and that was enough for me...
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Jon Gardiner, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 1:40 PM on 09.19.12
->> The need for ear protection is crucial! DO NOT FORGET THIS...
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Jeff Gammons, Student/Intern, Photographer
Destin | Fl | USA | Posted: 2:07 PM on 09.19.12
->> Go to the local gun shop and pick up a pair of Surefire ear defenders. They are way more comfortable than the little yellow ones. I have a few pair floating around my house and bags. They are the only ones I wear now, be it shooting cars planes or concerts.
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Steven Mullensky, Photographer, Photo Editor
Port Townsend | WA. | USA | Posted: 4:38 PM on 09.19.12
->> What ever you do, Do Not turn your back to the race cars.
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Bob Leverone, Photographer
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 4:38 PM on 09.19.12
->> Hey Jeff-those ear plugs sound really nice. But the real question is...how many layers of duct tape do you use to keep them in for 500 miles?
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Jeff Gammons, Student/Intern, Photographer
Destin | Fl | USA | Posted: 4:52 PM on 09.19.12
->> I'm not sure about 500 miles, all I have shot at are dirt tracks and drag strips. I can say though, they have stayed in at the shooting range for over six hours and about 500 rounds...

They are very comfortable, Surefire did their research. They mold very well and after a while you forget they're in. They have a little tube that goes through the main plug itself with a tiny cap on the end that you can pop open so you can hear if you go inside to transmit or into the crowd. The benefit of this feature is that you don't have to constantly take the plugs in and out, which usually just tears up your ears. All you have to do is pop open the little end cap and you can hear normal conversation, and pop it closed when you head back to the track. I really like them for concerts and music fests when you're always between stages and the media area for 3 days straight. As I said I have a few pair scattered around so I can never forget to bring them.
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Matt Kartozian, Photographer
Scottsdale | AZ | USA | Posted: 4:58 PM on 09.19.12
->> Cigarette butts and 9x19 cartridges both work as decent plugs in a pinch.
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Richard Uhlhorn, Photographer
Chelan Falls | WA | USA | Posted: 5:04 PM on 09.19.12
->> Chuck... You must have been standing in front of the 105. I started out as cannon fodder in the Army on 155 battery, but loudest is an 8 incher going off. Couple that with a six gun battery and you have loud.

Nine years on a Corvette race car team definitely didn't do my hearing any good. However I hear that a Formula 1 car can really do some damage to the ears if you don't have plugs in, but to tell the truth, I love the sound of raw V8 power.
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Steven Mullensky, Photographer, Photo Editor
Port Townsend | WA. | USA | Posted: 7:13 PM on 09.19.12
->> Don't forget the ground shaking, teeth rattling, tear inducing decibels of a couple of top fuel dragsters revving up and ready to shoot off the line. Oh, man! Music to my ears.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 7:29 PM on 09.19.12
->> Best way to save your ears from NASCAR is to NOT cover it. Easy!!!!! 8)
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 7:31 PM on 09.19.12
->> Steve NHRA is on my short list, and the drive to the track takes me by a few gun shops so if time allows I'm going to check those ear plugs out...
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John Tucker, Photographer, Photo Editor
Cordova | TN | USA | Posted: 9:55 PM on 09.19.12
->> I've shot tons of NASCAR....get there early, don't put your feet anywhere you wouldn't put your pecker, if you think you shouldn't be somewhere don't go, never think you can't be hit or killed, be wary, be safe. There are photo regulars, respect them....learn from them.....have fun. Get the cheap ear plugs, but if you forget them, they are readily available. The hot pass will allow you more access than a cold pass. There are tons of colors, angles, personalities.....take advantage of all, don't just do driver/car stuff...there's a lot more going on that most never even notice. Once again, have fun.
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Bob Leverone, Photographer
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 10:28 PM on 09.19.12
->> "don't put your feet anywhere you wouldn't put your pecker,"

Hahaha! So, John-you've been in the infield at Charlotte Motor Speedway way before it was Lowe's or Bristol before they fixed it? What a great line and a wonderful mantra for life. I wish my daddy had told me that before I went off to college! Sure would have saved me a lot of pain.
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Sam Morris, Photographer
Henderson (Las Vegas) | NV | USA | Posted: 3:31 AM on 09.20.12
->> Besides all of John Tucker's spot on advice, he added what may be one of the best pieces of advice for anyone covering something that's new to them: "don't put your feet anywhere you wouldn't put your pecker"
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Nick Wass, Photographer
Wheaton | MD | USA | Posted: 5:12 PM on 09.20.12
->> Keep your head on a swivel
With all the great access its easy to forget you may get flattened by a 900 horsepower car in the pits or garage area
Be alert
And i will echo hearing protection, hat, sunscreen, water
And bring some long pants
Some pits and garages require them
Check the tracks requirements
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Ed Coombs, Photographer
Available upon | NY | | Posted: 8:37 PM on 09.20.12
->> All of the "pay attention" calls should be adhered to. Same with hearing protection.

If you have a hot pass and are working near garage stalls
there are certain things that will warn you that a car is coming.

1. You may be outside an empty garage stall shooting a team/ driver working on a car in the next stall. When that empty stall is about to get full a crew member will walk out to direct the car into their stall. You may or may not get a warning, shove or tap on the shoulder. I assure you, you do not want to impede the crew/ driver from working.

2. Notice how the cars leave and enter the garage area, typically it's one way. NASCAR officials will usually use a whistle and a hand signal when a car is coming towards you.

3. There's a group of traveling regulars that cover the sport. Most are a great resource. Go to the photo meetings and meet them.

4. You will have a photo vest and credential endorsements will get you the access, the rest is up to you.

5. While you wouldn't think that at 70 degrees you need to think hydration but NH has a ton of racing, you could be out there for hours. Sunscreen and water are important.

I have done a lot of NASCAR and still do, lots of changes over last 10 years. It can be hard work, lots of walking but there's lots of opportunity for great shots.

Have fun
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 9:54 PM on 09.20.12
->> Be nice to Dorsey.
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Geoffrey Bolte, Photographer, Assistant
Thompson | CT | USA | Posted: 12:31 AM on 09.21.12
->> Make sure you get to the photographer meetings. They will give you the ins and outs of Loudon. Shot there a few times. Easy to work, just make sure you get there early to get a spot in the workroom.

Have fun, try different spots, but make sure your near the Pits/Victory Lane with 10 laps to go or you won't make it for the Trophy celebration.
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Bob Leverone, Photographer
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 1:19 AM on 09.21.12
->> Oh God, is Dorsey still alive?
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John Tucker, Photographer, Photo Editor
Cordova | TN | USA | Posted: 8:24 PM on 09.25.12
->> Bob, yep, I was at Bristol before they over thought it and Charlotte before Jimmy Johnson took it as his house........and I know I heard Dorsey Laugh during a broadcast, so yep, she's still alive.......as a matter of fact, I shot yesterday with a lens she sold me at Rockingham one year!
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Bob Leverone, Photographer
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 1:29 PM on 09.26.12
->> Now John this is where I really think Liddy is wrong, above. Dorsey's laugh is way easier to hear than a Cup car starting up. I remember hearing her laugh in turn 1 at Homestead during the race and I was in turn four! Not sure how that laugh would stand against the Howitzer or the Harrier, but I know it would easily come in number Three on the Liddy List-knocking that NASCAR Cup car starting up to an embarrassing Number Four.
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Bob Leverone, Photographer
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 2:36 PM on 09.26.12
->> Just Kidding. Really. Just kidding.
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Thread Title: Shooting NASCAR
Thread Started By: Paul Hayes
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