Archive for May, 2015

Last night was as my first dirt Modified race of the 2015 season. So far this season I have gone to a couple Flat Track Motorcycle races,, and some straight line Drag racing At Empire raceway, Skyview Drags, and ESTA Safety Park. Dirt Modified racing is what I was brought up on as a kid, going to Rolling Wheels, every Friday night and Weedsport Speedway every Sunday night with my grandfather and Dad. 

My first Super Dirt Werk was 1973, so I have seen all of the greats turning laps all over again the east coast. My son Vanze and I bought pit passes so we could get some behind the scene coverage of the nights action. Boy times have changed with the stacker trailers parked on concrete slabs in the big block pit area. Vanze and I did the normal routine of going into the stands to tape down a blanket before we made our way into the pits. 

General admission was only $12 for adults,18 under free. This is a great price for a full night of dirt track racing. Brewerton Speedway runs Big Block Mods, Sportsman Mods, Mod Lights, and a four cylinder class as their regular Friday night show. The “D” shaped Demond is a nice fast bull ring. Top names in the sport like, Matt Shepard, Billy Decker, Pat Ward, 2000 track champion Chuck Bower are just a few of the teams that battle every week just north of Syacuse, NY. 


As we walked through the pits we ran into a lot of people tha we knew from all of our years of racing. It was  like a small reuinion,😀pretty cool. Almost 30 big blocks and close to 20 Sportmans were on hand for the nights racing. We went and stood in turn one for hot laps, trying to get some good shots of the cars while the track was heavy. This always makes for cool images of Modifieds. I plan on getting credentials for these events so I can get down into the infield for some awesome action shots.  Early on the cushion was big and heavy. As soon as a driver hit the right rear on the Burm their car would develope a push and bog the engine a bit. After practice was over the track crew went out and knocked the cushion down for the heat races. While the crews were scraping the sticky clay off their race cars.


While there was a break in the action we went and got our selves something to eat. We both thought the food was good priced so a family could enjoy some grub at the track. Concessions are very important to a race track from the service, price, and quality of the food. Hats off to the people that provide all of this to us the Fans. Next up were the qualifying heat races. These races set up the main events for each class later on in the show. I believe they run a handicap system, which means if you won last week you will be starting in the back this week. As a fan I love this, but as a racer I never liked it, we all know with out the fans in the stands then the racers wouldn’t be racing. 


“Superman” Matt Shepard, Billy Decker started in the rear of their heat races. Decker had mechanical issues , and Sheppard could not get his HBR Troyer car through the pack, and finished just outside of a qualifying spot. Decker’s crew had to unload their spare car after breaking in the heat race. I’m not sure what broke but it must if been easier to run the backup car instead of fixing the primary ride. 

After the heat races were complete, they worked the track again and gave the teams a chance to get ready for their main events. Sometimes promoters take too long before the mains, and drag out the show trying to sell more Hotdogs. Lol it’s true, but Brewerton did it just right.  First feature of the night was the very popular Sportman class. They ran 25 laps, everywhere you looked there was side by side racing going on. A friend of ours Dylan Zacharias mad the show in his family owned Bucknell Chassis. Dylan started towards the front, and held his own for a bit, but fell back by the end if the 25 laps. He and his father are new to this class, but they are racers and will be up front soon enough looking for a win. Nick Krause edged out Brent Joy for his first Sportsman win on th “D” Shaped Demond. 

Next up were the Big block Modifieds, a 35 lap dirt slinging battle. The heavy hitters were spread though out the field Larry Wight starting toward the front and Decker, Sheppard in the back of the pack. As the Green flag dropped from Starter Dave Farney the place erupted with the awesome sound of 30 big block modifieds coming out of turn four. For the first ten laps the Big block warriors man handled their machines trying to get edge over the car next to them. 

By the seventh lap Larry Wight worked his way to the top spo in his red # 99l never looking back. Tim Kerr, Chris Mackey, Vinnie Vitale, and jim Wilko Jr battled for a top five finish for remainder of the race. Vinnie Vitale came from mid pack to finish fourth in his well known #56 machine. 



Great show well run, and just a fun night with my son covering a local Dirt Track. We were in our car heading home at 9:25, and home by 10:10. That’s the way it should be.  I would say if your looking for something to do next Friday night head out to Brewerton Speedway for some short track Mod Racing. Brewerton speedway

Check out more images from Brewerton on my website at John Zachary Photography

Thank you for stopping by

Take Care


A few weekends ago I had planned on shooting some flat track motorcycle racing and Drag racing., but Friday morning it turned into a three day race weekend. 

My son and I had planned on traveling to Square Deal Riders to cover their second night of Flat Track Motorcycle Racing.  Sunday both of my sons and I where going to go north to ESTA Safety Park to cover and participate in siome 1/4 mile drag racing.  

My summers are really full on weekends covering sporting event all over NY, and PA. I shoot pictures for news papers, Magazines, and just to sell to my customers at these events. 

   It’s what I do, and enjoy doing. Covering a event from behind a camera is a great way to tell a story from start to finish. After processing my images I post them on my we site John ZacharyPhotography for people to enjoy, and maybe even buy a few for there own picture albums. 

Like I was saying the weekend got real busy at around 11:30 Friday morning. I was out hanging signs in the morning and went back to the shop to cut some more signs, like I do every Friday. When I returned to the shop a great friend of mine was visiting with my dad about the local racing scene. While I was working he mentioned that the World of Outlaw Sprint cars where racing at Williams Grove Speedway in Pa. We all looked at each other and said lets do it. 

I finished my work that I was doing, and my friend went home to get some things for the trip. My son and I went home got ready and waited for Bill to pick us up for our racing road trip. 

Years ago we did this kind of thing all the time. Friday was like old times jumping in a car and heading across the state to a dirt track for the night. Williams Grove is like 3 and 1/2 hours south of us. The race started at 7:30. We left my house at around 2:00pm. This gave us plenty of time to get down there and wonder stroud the pits for a while before the 410 sprint cars graced the red clay of the famous William Grove Track. 

I grabbed my Older Fuji camera and a lens just to get a few shots to use for this blog post, but what I got was apt more than a few ha ha!  When we walked into the back pits near the infamous Blue bridge that crosses over the back stretch of the track. My buddy took a snap shot of my son and I. He then sent it to his brother to let him know we where at the Grove. He soon texted back saying you D….!  He he we where laughing wishing he was there with us. We then headed into the infield to see the cars in the front stretch pit area. 

40 top notch cars where on hand for the Groves first of two nights of racing. I wanted to get to turn one and grab some action shots of the practice session before the sun went down. I did not bring a flash or any of me serious gear with me, so I needed to get what I could with what I had. 


I did manage to get some great shot before sundown of some of the fasted guys on dirt. The nights racing was awesome as expected. Only one yellow flag flew all night. Donny Shatz won the a main in his TSR (Tony Stewart Racing) car. We ended up getting home around 2:30am, and it was well worth it. 

After 4 hours of sleep I got my butt out of bed and started post processing my images from the Grove. 

All of my cameras were pack for the nights shoot at Square  Deal Riders for some Flat track racing. We left the house for Port crane, NY drinking coffee to help stay awake for the long night ahead of us. 

The sky’s were looking a little dark but no rain on our drive to the track. Once we arrived we walked through the pit area and talked to some of the riders and their pit crews before practice started. The kids classes hit the track first and then the big bike take to the 1/4 oval. It is great seeing the little riders doing their best and learning every lap they turn. 


My Fuji EX-2 was being used by my son with a 55-200mm lens mounted on it. This week I wanted to get some different angles of the riders and their bikes at speed. So I used my XT1 with a 15-55mm lens. This meant that I needs to get closer to the action than normal. My XT1 has a tilt screen on it so I could go real low or real high with my shots. 

I like the high angle shots, they are different than the normal action shot. Now the low angle shots were hard to get but I think they are very cool from ground level.  The rains came just before the big bike heat races, canceling the program for the night. The next event at Square Deal Riders is June 6th. Be there or be square 😎.


Sunday we went to ESTA Saftey Park for some drag racing. My youngest son and his girlfriend entered her 2005 mustang, and I entered my 2010 Camaro. We arrived early so we could go through inspection and make a couple qualifying runs. We both made our runs, and I am happy to say that my Chevy runs faster than that Ford he he. 

My son and I both had to study our time slips and figure out what we were going to set as our dial times. I ran a14.9- 14.8 with my Camaro and Cruz ran a 15.1- 15.1 with the Mustang. ESTA Saftey Park was full of Drag cars, trucks, bikes and Sleds. The weather was perfect not a cloud in the sky. It was time for first round of eliminations, so we had to set out dial times and write them on the windows of our cars. I end up dialing at 14.85 and Cruz dialed in at 15.10. Our class was called to the lanes. We made sure we didn’t race each other in the first round by lining up behind each other. I was up first against a WRX Subaru. I launched when the tree dropped and headed down the strip. The Subaru was way back and not going to catch me. I’m like yeah so I hit the brakes at the line so I wouldn’t break out of my dial. Yes I won😀 nope the win light came on in the other lane. When I was handed my time slip it said I ran a 14.54 on the brakes, crap I broke out. Now I need to buy back in to keep racing. 

Cruz was up next he hit a good light and won his round, moving on to round two. I went back up to run again. So I dialed a 14.38 to be safe this time and got beat running a 14.75. Really why did it slow down that much. Not a clue. My day was done, Cruz kept racing and making it to the final five where he lost to a fast ford pickup truck. My other son was shooting pictures while I was trying to be a Drag racer. He did a good job for his first time shooting at a drag race. His point of view is different then mine, but that’s what’s cool about it. We all see things different. 

Here are a few that he shot Sunday. 


Well that’s it,  what a weekend of racing shooting and spending some time with my sons, and old friends. Now I need to get my daughters to the track for some racing. Lol

Check out all of my pics at John Zachary Photography

Thank you for stopping by

I will see you at the track. 



After a long hard winter here in upstate NY, the summer temps have arrived. This also means it is time for some drag racing. 

Skyview Drags in Owego,NY opened their doors this weekend for a Test n Tunes session. I packed up my camera gear and headed south to check out some 1/8th mile practice hits, from some of the fastest cars and motorcycles in the north east. 

    Above Larry award doing a smokey burnout in his beautiful orange SS Nova. 

Turnout was pretty good, with a fair amount of cars and motorcycles testing for the up coming season at the “Ridge”. The track seemed to be able to take the high horsepower cars even though the temps where high. The outdoor tempeture was around 85 degrees, so I’m sure the track was really warm. 

I spent about three hours walking around taking pics of the beautiful looking drag cars in the pits. Once the action started I planted myself at the starting line, so I could get some wicked burnout shots. (Plus smell the burning rubber) he he. 

Skyview only charged $5 for spectators to enjoy a day of side by side runs down the drag strip. I traveled 2hrs west a couple weeks ago and was charged $15 to watch 25 cars make runs. Not happy. Really $15 for test n tune? Thank you Skyview for not hitting our wallets hard. This way maybe som espectators might turn into racers after a day at the track. 

We could even go over to the concrete oval and watch some testing for the same $5. I noticed a lot of people sitting in the grandstands watching the cars run down the 1/8th mile, enjoying the weather and the sound of big horsepower. Later on in the day I went up track for a bit to catch some fast action shots. 

It took me a few shots to catch up with the speed of the cars, but it was worth it. I am glad I spent the day at Skyview in Owego. It looks like Skyview is going to have another star studded field of cars for the 2015 race season. I look forward to visiting the Ridge a lot this year. Check out their schedule at Skyview Drags. You can see all of my images from this weekend at John Zachary Photography

 Thank you for stopping by 

I will see you at the track.