Monday, June 30, 2008

IndyCar Races Through Richmond


Saturday night's SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway was my first time attending an IndyCar race. The first time that I had even watched an Indy race was about a week prior to this race. Sexy driver Danica Patrick (#7 Motorla/GoDaddy car)peaked my interest to check it out and now I'm officially hooked!

I used to be a smoker (can't stand it now) and occasionally get promotional offers from Marlboro. I usually pass them up, but this time it was two free tickets for the SunTrust Indy Challenge in Richmond. When I claimed my tickets (normally $37 each) at the race, they also provided two nice mesh bags, binoculars, a disposable camera, ear plugs, a lighter case, and two headsets (normally $60) to listen to the drivers and pit crew. I guess all those years of smoking paid off!

The first half of the race was plagued with yellow flags. 102 of the 300 laps were under caution. That's the second most in IndyCar racing history! The record is 116 laps under caution during a 2002 race at Nazareth. Most of the yellow flags took place during the first 200 laps of Saturday's race. The last 100 were relatively flag free.

Some guy attempted to throw his hat over the fence and onto the race track. I don't think the police realized who did it, so what did the guy do? He went and picked up the hat and attempted to throw it over the fence again! He then resisted when the police officer tried to escort him out, so the officer signaled for his buddies and about five other cops arrived and persuaded the guy out of the race area.

I've never photographed a race before... much less one at night, so I didn't quite know what to expect. Poor lighting, cars flying by at high speeds, and the fence were all interesting hurdles. They don't let you stand next to the fence to photograph the race, so I had to take pictures from the stands. Half of my shots were perfectly in focus... if your focus was the fence links! I had to do a lot of manual focusing that night.

7-Eleven car (#11) driver Tony Kanaan won the race. It was his 13th career victory. Danica Patrick finished 6th.

Here's a few of the shots from the race. Enjoy!


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