Welcome to my "RACING" page. Although I don't go to as many racing events as I used to, below are images I've taken over the past 40+ years. My regular tracks were Eastex Dragway, Alamo Dragway, Green Valley Race City and Houston International Raceway, all of which are now gone!
Willis Ragsdale and "RAUNCHY"
Most of my old NHRA sportsman drag racing pictures were taken at Eastex Dragway (above, left/center) during their monthly Competition/Modified Eliminator Combo events. If you were there, you know there were some heavy hitters in attendance. Several NHRA World Champions and many, many NHRA national event winners showed up each and every month. One of those "heavy hitters" was Willis Ragsdale in his "Raunchy" street roadster. I began going to Eastex Dragway in the late '70s and found out soon after that Ragsdale had won the NHRA Indy Nationals twenty years prior in 1961. I'm happy to say that Ragsdale is still around and will be honored this coming April as the "Legend Of The Year" at Lone Star Motorsports Park's "LEGENDS" Nostalgic Drags and Rod Run (above,right) in Sealy, Texas fifty miles west of Houston.
Better "LUCKY" Than Good!
If you do this long enough, you're bound to get those once in a lifetime shots. Above are two of mine. I was a regular photographer at Houston International Speedway and one weekend I had gotten to the track a little late and Dennis Piranio and his Performance Engines Vega Funny Car was ready for a qualifying run. I stood on the opposite lane just behind the christmas tree and focused down track. He came into my viewfinder with front wheels up and I clicked off a shot. It wasn't until I developed the film in my darkroom (remember 35mm?) that I noticed he had all four wheels off the ground. The Jay Payne blow over was at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis and I was taking pictures from the grandstands. My first shot was a sky-high wheel stand and my second was his complete blow-over. The shot won third place in NHRA's yearly National Dragster Magazine photo contest.
Quarter Mile "SURVIVORS"
Most of the feedback I receive pertains to my old drag racing pictures, especially the door-slammers. Below are a previous request and a previous follow up. Happy to help and happy to hear from y'all.
Before there was a Reher and Morrison Racing Team, there was the Cross and Reher Chevy-powered Maverick. The Dallas based Ford was featured in several magazines especially after winning Modified Eliminator at the 1974 NHRA Winter Nationals. I received an e-mail from a racing enthusiast from Tennessee who had found the Maverick in Arkansas and was planning a full restoration. He requested a re-post of the Maverick that I had taken at Eastex Dragway (top, left) to help complete the final details. Judging by the photo he sent me (top, right), he doesn't have very far to go!
After the success of the Maverick (above), the newly formed Reher and Morrison Racing Team transplanted the drivetrain from the Maverick to a sleeker Corvette body with the same winning results, they won Modified Eliminator at the 1975 NHRA Spring Nationals. My photo (above, left) was also taken at Eastex Dragway. The center and right photos were sent to me by the current owner's brother. Looks to me like it's still in good hands.
Even though I've been doing this for over forty years, I've never considered myself a "professional" or have ever wanted to be. Then, as now, I do it for "fun". I remember seeing photographers at the track holding light meters up to the sky. Are you kidding me? It's like anything else; after you do it for awhile, you know what works, no matter what the light conditions. One "trick" that they did though that I always liked and took awhile to figure out was getting the "special effect" like above. This was before Photoshop or any kind of computer editing tool. As you can see, I finally figured it out and it was as simple as shooting flash photography at a slower speed than the normal 1/60 of a second, 1/15 in both shots above. Only wish I had done more of it. (Tommy Mauney's Pro Mod Mustang was taken at an ADRL race at Houston Motorsports Park. Tom Hoover in his "Showtime" Funny Car was taken at Bill Heilscher's Green Valley Race City.)
FIRE; you race professionally for any length of time and it's bound to happen. Left to right; the Funny Car blaze was taken at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, the unexpected Sprint Car flare up was captured at the Texas World Speedway in Bryan/College Station and the Top Fuel Dragster engine destruction happened at State Capital Dragway in Baton Rouge.
Over the years I've taken thousands and thousands of pictures and I can usually remember where each picture was taken. Above left is the Army sponsored Funny Car of Don "the Snake" Prudomme being prepped in the pits and I simply cannot remember where it was taken. It could be at any of a handful of Texas tracks. On the right is Clayton Poole backing up his Funny Car at Houston International Speedway. The unusual thing about this shot is the eerie light "reflections" in all four corners. Actually the reflections were caused by rain drops falling on my camera lens. I don't remember if the race was delayed or postponed.
My "RACING" page looks like it'll be a work in progress for awhile so here's some more of that "progress". Top to bottom, left to right; the "Hi-Jacker" Top Fueler with a tow truck mishap at Houston International Speedway, Ed "the Ace" McCulloch in his "REVELLution" Funny Car at Alamo Dragway, Jeb Allen at State Capital Dragway in Baton Rouge, Kenny Bernstein's "Budweiser King" also at Alamo, the CKC Vega Funny Car out of San Antonio at Houston International Speedway, hired gun Richard Tharp in the Kilpatrick & Connell Top Fuel Dragster at State Capital, Don "the Snake" Prudomme and his "Pepsi Challenger" Funny Car also at Alamo and Shirley Muldowney smoking up State Capital. More to come!
My brother just picked up an Erica Enders 2014 Pro Stock World Champion t-shirt. Nice artwork!