All Nascar photographers are spoiled. And any other photographers who get to shoot at facilities where there is a full dedicated media center are spoiled.

And now I am ruined for life.

I’m used to shooting in the desert where our media center is the car ride home after sitting in the desert for 10 hours. Covered in silt, sweat, rocks in our shoes, and a farmers tan only a mother could love.

Recently the Lucas Oil Offroad Racing Series paid a visit to Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT. The facility is top notch and everyone was very impressed, from the racers, teams, track officials, and us the media.

I was excited to shoot at this track because covering a new location is always a fun challenge. You can’t just rely on shooting the same old reliable spots. You have to do your homework and scout things out, but even then you don’t always know where you’re going to shoot until the green flag drops. What looks like it may be a good spot the day before could be a complete waste once you see all the trucks on the course, and a spot you never thought of could turn into a great spot come race time.

The track itself wasn’t very exciting compared to other tracks like Las Vegas which had a lot of elevation changes and a huge jump built into the track. Here because they were within the road course they seemed to be pretty limited to where they could go, and would have to bring in a ton of dirt to build any large jumps. The one good thing about this track compared to others were the backgrounds. In Vegas one whole side of the track has shipping containers in the background, and in Surprise you’re surrounded by RV’s, light poles, and scissor lifts. Here in Tooele you had mountains on all sides, and some even had some snow left from a recent storm. On to the photos.

On Friday there were two sets of practices scheduled, so I took the time to get used to the track and set a game plan for the weekend. First up was the drivers meeting, which I like to try and attend on Fridays to hear about the upcoming weekend.

Here Tony Vanillo addresses the drivers in the garage.

They built a large mogul section into the track that looked promising, so most media setup to shoot that for the first few laps. Most people went around it, but one truck decided to give it a try and ended up breaking his front end and almost rolling over.

I’d insert a photo of it here but all the shots I got of it were overexposed and out of focus. Starting off the weekend right!

They spent about 30 minutes cutting down the moguls so I took the time to walk around the track and find some other spots. A lot of the track was surrounded by big orange and white barriers, but once practice started up again I was able to find a few decent spots. Because of the big delay the track really dried out, and the majority of the first practice session was a waste because of the dust.

The second set of practice was better as they were able to keep the dust down. I decided to shoot near turn two as it gave you a few options to shoot.

Option 1 was a side view coming over a little rise, but you had to be very aware of your background.

Option 2 was shooting them from far away going around turn 1.

Option 3 was photographing them from behind as they jumped away from you. It was nice because you had a clean mountain background.

Option 4 was to walk a bit to shoot them coming over the rise in Option 1.

I next headed over to another spot on the track close by that also gave you a few different views of the track.

You could shoot the other side of the jump in Option 1.

Head on shot coming over another jump.

Or shoot in tight when they come around a corner after the jump.

Or steal an idea from Mark and shoot low with the tire wall in the foreground.

For Saturday’s qualifying session I decided to give the moguls another try and to shoot them head on since the sun was behind you, and to try and get the mountains in the background.

Going back to what I said earlier about not knowing of a good spot till you actually see the trucks on the course, in the same spot as the shots above, you could get a nice photo of them jumping away from you.

After working that corner for a while I walked up the track a bit to get some different angles. Its important to give your clients a mixture of shots so that they don’t all look the same. Even shooting the same spot but moving around can give you different looks.

The front.

The side.

The rear.

Working the mountains into the shot again with some spectators watching qualifying from their scissor lift.

For the race on Saturday I was lucky enough to be in the right spot and get a few rollovers. There was a table top jump on the back stretch of the course, and some trucks were landing pretty nose heavy. The day before Mark got a good shot of someone going over in the same spot so unless they chopped down the lip to the jump, we knew there was a chance someone else would go over.

During the Prolite Unlimited race Sean Geiser hit the jump and just touched his front bumper on the ground causing him to go over.

Luckily Steve Naughton was there to make sure I didn’t get the entire rollover. Canon’s superior auto focusing made sure to focus on his ass. I didn’t care because I got the initial impact of the rollover so it was fun to give him crap. Feel free to tease him the next time you see him because even though it looks like in the below photo he’s filming the whole thing, when he turned around he had no idea someone rolled. Good job bud! 🙂

In the last race of the day General Tire’s Carl Renezeder did the same thing, but again lucky for me I was panning at 1/200th so out of about 12 shots in the sequence maybe 3 came out. Not a big deal though, Carl is just one of the most decorated short course racers of all time, very rarely rolls, so it’ll happen again soon I’m sure right?

Here are a few more of my favorites from the weekend.

Standing on the outside of turn 1 (don’t worry it was safe Poppy), you could get a nice head on shot off the start.

The facility just recently built a 5 million dollar executive suite building so I made sure to try to get a few shots of it in the background.

A Superlite truck came close to rolling in that same spot, but since I was panning I would of missed it anyways.

Its hard to screw up a good roost shot, and Rick Huseman always supplie you with plenty.

Here Rob Naughton comes into the hotpits for a tire change. This building is where the media center is located, next year I may just shoot from inside it with a really long lens.

Mastercrafts Robbie Pierce’s truck body just barely hangs on after a roll earlier in the race.

Ricky Johnson and Rob MacCachren had some heated words after the last race of the weekend. Check out KMC Wheels Facebook page for a caption contest using the photo.

Pro 2 class before their race.

Kyle Leduc welding on his truck.

Thats it for this addition of Panning Ruins Rollover Shots. You can check out a few more of my favorite shots by clicking on the thumbnails below, and to see our full gallery click the link below.


2010 LOORRS Utah Photo Gallery