This past weekend marked Rounds 3 & 4 for the 2010 Lucas Oil Offroad Racing series in Surprise, Arizona.  Coming into the races I had a few goals in mind.  One goal was to get some driver profiles when they are in their trucks using off camera flash with a little homemade snoot I made. 

I took a Stofen Omni-Bounce you can get for $10 at any camera store, cut a hole in the front, and wrapped the whole thing in black gaffers tape. The purpose of that was to control the amount of light coming out of my Canon 550ex flash. Instead of a wide blast of light, it only lets out a small direct amount. Here are a few shots showing the effect. Instead of the whole cockpit being lit up by the flash and outside light, I underexposed the shot and powered up the flash to get this.

Monster Energy’s Jonny Greaves

Rockstar / Makita Tools Kyle Leduc

I was pretty happy with the results, and plan to mess around with it more in future races. The other goal I had was to not get any spectacular rollovers, so that my friend and fellow photographer Mark Rebilas could get all of them. I am happy to announce that I far surpassed my goal and didn’t get crap for rollovers while Mark decided to have his camera pointed in the right direction for them all. [ /sarcasm ]

Photographing short course racing is a lot of fun because you get a lot of opportunities to see all the vehicles each day. Between practice, qualifying, and racing you can easily see a truck 60+ times. This gives you the chance to get different angles throughout the weekend and try some new things. I try not to shoot in the same spot more then once between all three days unless its a really good spot so that I can get a variety of photos for my clients. The benefit is that for the races, you can position yourself closer to the podium area so that you don’t miss the celebration and trophy photos after each race.

For Friday the schedule was a short practice session followed by qualifying for start position the next day. For practice I setup in probably my favorite spot which is the backside of the course looking towards the grandstands. I like this spot because there is a nice sweeper turn right in front of you, and you can get a lot of different angles from where you’re at. Another plus is that they built a new big jump right in front of you.

Mastercraft’s Robbie Pierce

General Tire’s Carl Renezender

Monster Energy’s Rick Huseman

Rockstar / Makita’s Kyle Leduc

After all classes went through their practice laps we had a short break, then went right back into it with qualifying rounds. For this I went to the inside of turn 2 since I didn’t plan on shooting there for the race because of how far it is to the podium. Since I got plenty of clean shots in the turns, and jumps from practice I decided to just get some panning shots.

Monster Energy’s Rick Huseman

Menzies Motorsports Bryce Menzies

General Tire’s Robby Woods

Saturday would be a full schedule of racing for Round 3. For this day of action I decided to hang around turn 1, hoping to get some good action off the start. There is a nice sized jump followed by a 90 degree left hand turn where you can get some good shots of all the cars bunched up off the start line. Because everyone is battling trying to pass people off the start you can usually get some good rubbing action off the first jump.

Rob Naughton came in nose heavy off the start of the Pro 2 Unlimited race.

Kyle Leduc had the lead in Pro 4 Unlimted before a rollover would put him back in the pack. I like this shot because you can see the crowds in the background, and the truck has a nice lean to it.

And here is a shot off the start of the Pro 4 Unlimted race.

The other shot from the Turn 1 location is the actual turn. It was a little different from last year as it looked like they made the turn a little wider and not as sharp as before. I was still able to get some decent shots of the drivers drifting into the turn.

Rick Huseman would end up winning the Pro 4 race and I was able to get a celebration shot. Being in Turn 1 puts you close enough to catch all the winners celebrations.

During the yellow flag caution they would let you move spots so I headed to the middle section between Turn 1 and Turn 2. There wasn’t anything real exciting to shoot there but it gave me some different angles to mix things up a bit.

Shooting in front of you had a decent jump to shoot.

Metal Mulisha’s Brian Deegan

If you turned around you could get a photograph of the racers hitting the jump after Turn 3 with the crowd in the background.

General Tire’s Robby Woods.

You could also get a shot of them exiting Turn 2. Here are two shots that show how just moving around a bit and using a different lens can make the same spot look a little different.

Here is a shot standing up with the Canon 300mm f2.8L lens.

Rob MacCachren and Rodrigo Ampudia

And here is a shot using the Canon 70-200mm f2.8L lens while getting real low to the ground. By doing that it let me use the dirt in front of me as an interesting foreground.

Monster Energy’s Casey Currie

For the Pro 2 race Carl Renezeder would end up taking the win.

During the podium I turned around and saw this little fan wanting to catch a glimpse of the celebration.

On Sunday’s practice I decided to shoot again on the back stretch to get some more shots from that area. Because LOORRS was tight on time they didn’t water the track between some of the sessions so I didn’t get too much from that area. Here are a few that I did like. I tend to shoot pretty tight but for this race found myself stepping back a bit and framing the car more in the photograph.

Menzie Motorsports Cameron Steele

Monster Energy’s Rick Huseman (Yes I have a lot of Rick on this blog, its because he always drives at 110% and puts on a good show!)

For the day’s racing I decided to shoot outside the track, moving around the front stretch to get a few different angles per race. Luckily I saw Poppy Perfect the Media Coordinator for LOORRS before opening ceremonies and she mentioned that there was an extra scissor lift if we wanted to use it. Of course!

Mark had been shooting from a lift all day yesterday and got some good rollovers, so any chance to be just like him I jumped at the opportunity. All that was left was to strap 5 cameras around my neck, get some designer jeans, and a man crush for Kartman , and drive a Corvette and I’d be his twin!

I had them place the lift so that it was shooting directly head on with the front straight away. I figured it would be a good place to shoot since it would be an angle no one else had yet. Then Matt saw me up there during the race and joined us for the other races. Who knew someone 6’3″ and 250 pounds was scared of heights.

Here is the start of the Pro 2 Unlimited race.

Because there were so many flags, banners, and other lifts around the course it was hard to get a clean shot besides the front straight away. If you timed it right you could get a shot without anything in the way.

Brian Deegan launches his truck off a jump.

The grandstands were packed full all weekend.

I only stayed up in the lift for a few laps so that I could walk around the front stretch, and also be down at the podium to catch the finish line celebrations.

One spot was at the base of a jump that put you literally next to the track. Was a nice rush when a few trucks would come flying off the jump at the same time. Not so nice when they landed in mud and sprayed the side of your face.

Another spot was right next to the flagman tower, there was a hold cutout in the fence for us to shoot. It gave you a pretty good view of the track and could work a few angles.

Supercross Champ Ricky Johnson goes for a ride.

For this shot I was able to get up in the flagman stand for the finish.

Rick Huseman would once again win in the Pro 4 Unlimited race, with Rob MacCachren taking the checkered flag for the Pro 2 Unlimited race. For the Limited Buggy class I was happy to see friend Justin “Bean” Smith get his first short course win, and was glad to be there for his celebration.

That about wraps it up for Rounds 3 & 4 of the Lucas Oil Offroad Racing Series. Here are a few more photos from the race below. Next LOORRS race takes us back to Las Vegas in May. See you then!