Speedweeks 2014: Carnage on the frontstretch

A look at the ARCA 200 and the Sprint Unlimited from behind the lens.

One race day down now, and I am getting excited for next weekend.

Yesterday saw the ARCA 200 and the Bud Shootout…I mean Sprint Unlimited, or limited if the amount of cars finishing the race is any indication.

Between almost 4 hours of practice for the 500 cars, and the varying temperatures this apparent vacation destination state offers, it was a long, cold yet interesting day.

Let's start with practice. I have one word to describe the opening practice sessions for the Daytona 500 cars…monotonous. Single car runs, mock qualifying. While it is a great opportunity to get those single car shots of the new paint schemes, it's simply a boring time in turn 4. And there was a freezing cold wind that I never though existed in this state. Tip to fellow Canadians who travel to Florida in February…you will need a jacket at some point.

Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway

Photo by: Covy Moore

The second practice I spent wandering around the garage. In my years of photographing motorsports, you quickly realize that its not about the cars, its about the people. The drivers, the crew chiefs, the car owners, the wives and the fans. These are the people that make this circus a success, and without the faces of the sport, you have a hard drive full of colourful photos of race cars.

I cut out of practice a few moments before it wrapped up, to get ready for a VERY long stint on the roof of the Sprint Tower. Being my first trip up, I didnt want to chance anything so I made sure I was well prepared.

The first race of two was the ARCA 200. As we all know, this race typically sees a little carnage. This one saw one big wreck, with a bunch of cars spinning in a bunch of different directions. One advantage to shooting from the roof is getting all the action, from passes to wrecks. And I think I nailed the action.

Then it was the Sprint Unlimited. 18 drivers lined up, only about 5 finished without damage.

Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet crashes
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet crashes

Photo by: Covy Moore

This race was exciting. I spent much of it getting used to shooting under the Daytona lights, and figuring out the angles and what lenses will do what. I was so in experimenting mode that I missed the big wreck fumbling with lenses.

And the cold. I don't think I have been that cold since the last winter football game I shot for the newspapers back home. I mean, the wind was just screaming, and with my light shell Motorsport.com jacket on, it just wasn't enough. You know you are getting old when your fingers stop working when they are cold.

But in the end, it was an exciting event. I learned a lot, and this gave me so much excitement for the rest of the week.

Now on to some late model action on the backstretch during the week, oh, and qualifying Sunday.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson
Teams Hendrick Motorsports
Article type Blog
Tags 2014, airborne, arcs, carnage, champion, daytona 500, daytona international raceway, earnhardt, fire, flipping, hamlin, practice, speedweeks, sprint tower, stewart, victory lane, winner