Posts Tagged ‘Drag racing’

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. 



 Every year Gator Racing news host the annual Motosports Expo in a Syracuse, NY. This show is a sign that spring is almost here in Central NY. This year has been a record breaking winter and we all need something to shake the winter blues. 

 Motorsports Expo is a two day event at the NYS Fairgrounds. The show begins Saturday morning at 10:00 and closes Sunday at 4:00pm. I headed up early Saturday morning hoping to beat the crowd so I could get some clean pictures of the brand new iron that graced the Center of progress buildings floor. Well I guess a lot of people had the same idea as I did. When I arrived at about 10:40 Saturday morning the place was pretty busy.  This is a great thing for the motorsports industry in the North East. These people are the same ones that fill the stands at the tracks all around NY. 

This year’s show was full of venders and beautiful race cars. I was very disappointed about not having any of the Dragstrips in Central NY not participating in the show. We have four or five great Dragway’s  with in three hours of Syracuse and not one of them showed up. Plus our area is is full of motorcycle racing and I didn’t see anybody representing  two racing either. This is a race show, I think all kinds of racing should represented. 

Dirt Modifieds are the main class of the show but sprint cars seem to be growing like crazy in the area.  ESS and the Patriot Sprint Tour had a ton of cars and info on their upcoming season. Sprints cars are awesome, I am glad to see all of the interest in these cars growing. 

Venders ranged from old racing pictures to full car wraps. If you need a new helmet or gloves it was at the show. I noticed that diecast stuff was everywhere as well for the collectors out there.  Me being a photographer I spent some time going through old photos at most of the tables. We all should get more prints of our favorite racers to keep for the future. Hard drives and  CDs don’t last that long, and we could lose everything we have. Get them printed. 

After I walked around for a couple hours I grabbed a Area Auto Racing News and headed home to see what kind of shots I got.  It was a good show this year I just wish other forms of racing would show up and get all kinds of race fans together after a long hard winter. 

Please check out my site for images of all kinds of racing and please subscribe to this blog for the 2015 race season. John Zachary Photography

Take care 

I will see you at the track. 


This was our first trip to the Geezers at the Grove event in Reading PA. As I talked about in my last blog post, Friday was a regular show for the local racers and qualifying for the nitro funny cars.


This photo was shot at mid track with my a fugi X-E1 mirror less camera.

Saturday we arrived at the track around 8:00am for a full day of racing. Joining the nitro cars on Saturday where some alcohol funny cars as well as a ton of vintage drags cars from the past. We started walking around the pits watching the teams get their cars out to warm up the fluids and go to tech for their safety inspection. It was great just standing in one spot watching the beautiful looking cars drive by one after another. What a great way to start the day, a cup of coffee and the sound of huge horsepower drag cars.


All of the lanes where full of race cars at 9:30 to start the days qualifying and eliminations.the nitro funny cars wouldn’t be up until later in the day, but we got our fill of good ole bracket racing with just beautiful cars. These people love their cars and their sport. It shows with how they take care of their vehicles. I’m glad of that because it makes for some nice images.


We watched some of the morning runs from the start line, enjoying the burn outs that they do to warm up their massive drag slicks.


I made my way out the starting line to get some shots as they left the line. I was out there for about a 1/2 hr. I talked to the track photographer for a while. I was hoping to get to shoot the nitro cars when they came to the line but, security came out and ask for my credentials. I didn’t have any so I was asked to leave the line. So I went back behind the fence and shot the rest of the day.

If you couldn’t tell by the color the driver of this nice camaro was a women. Her daughter raced a newer camaro as well.

The sun was getting low in the sky when the nitro cars made their way to the lanes for their eliminations. These cars are just loud and fast. Both top speed and ET (elapsed time) class records where set in eliminations in front of a large crowd.


After a few blown engines and lengthy clean ups the final two cars made it to the line, the Famous Jungle Jim car was victorious in the nitro funny car class. All in all it was a wonderful event. I plan in going again next year. I shot with my Fugi X-E1, my Canon 7D, and Canon G15 all weekend.

Sunday was a day of 1983 cars and older bracket racing. The pits where full and the weather was just perfect for side by side racing.


Don’t forget to check out all of my images from this event at John Zachary Photography