One of my favorite desert races of the year to take photos at is the BITD Vegas to Reno race. I like shooting the long point to point races because it adds an extra step of preparation on planning out your race day strategy. Instead of being able to pick a different spot each lap, with point to point races you need to estimate how long you can stay at each spot, time it will take to get to the next spot, and factor in some cushion so that you don’t miss anyone at your next spot.

Like all BITD races qualifying happens before the race to determine starting positions for the Trophy Trucks and Class 1 cars. I drove up in the morning to Las Vegas to the qualifying area which was off Apex Road where the SNORE Mint 400 course is ran. I knew it was going to be a long day the second I stepped out of my truck and felt the heat of the sun.

I got there a little early so that I could scope out the course a little bit, and look for some potential photo spots. About half the course was run on the mint course so I know what was there, but the first half of the qualifying loop was new. About a mile from the start line there was some orange danger markers so I made the trek to see what it was. It was a 10 minute walk, I always time myself so that I can factor that in on how long I can stay at a spot. If I know I need to be on the road after an hour, I have to factor in the time it takes to get back to the truck.

At the danger markers there was a nice drop off that was about 10 feet tall, and had a pretty good grade to it. Honestly I figured that spot wouldn’t be that great thinking most would just slow way down, but it turned out to be a great spot and I got some photos that were my favorite from the weekend. A few jumped off it, most slowed down but not enough to where they left the ground a bit landing hard at the bottom, and even those that slammed on their brakes would throw some silt at the top.

On Thursday Bink and I spent most of the day looking for photo spots since there was no prerunning before the race. I always like to be prepared on where I’ll be going race day, usually over preparing, but I think its important to have a game plan ready. We spent about 5 hours going from spot to spot to try and find the best spots that were fairly easy to get to, and would let us get our clients multiple times.

The first spot I went to was right off the highway before Pit 1 at race mile 32. Its not an exciting spot but its early in the race and far enough from the second spot that I could catch the top 20 guys, and still catch the leader at spot #2.

The next spot I went to was about 30 minutes up the highway, with another 5 minute drive down a graded road to race mile 116. I chose this spot because it was a nice 90 degree turn, and also that less then a quarter mile back on the graded road the course crossed at race mile 167. So this would let me get everyone I needed to at RM116, with enough time to run over to the road crossing and catch them again.

I started on the inside of the turn with my wide angle.

After a few more cars I moved to the outside to get a little different perspective.

After all my clients went by I drove down the road to RM167. I hiked backwards a little on the course and found a decent chicane in the road. Wasn’t anything special but was able to get everyone one more time.

The last spot that I went to was up before Pit 9 near race mile 318. Looking at the race course on google earth there was an access road that led to a 90 degree right hand turn. Like the first spot I shot if from a few different angles to mix things up.

Head on.

Larry Roeseler in the Terrible Herbst Trophy Truck came by with only reverse, just cruising by on a sunday drive. They would make it to Pit 9 and get the transmission replaced and go on to finish the race.

Congrats to all the racers who put on a great show as usual, and thanks to BITD for putting on another great event. You can check out all my photos from the race by clicking on the link below. Enjoy!

2011 BITD Vegas 2 Reno Photos