Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, Scott Kelby and Friends!

As if going to Photoshop World in Orlando last month weren’t exciting enough, one of the biggest new sporting events to come to Alabama occurred this past weekend. The first ever Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. I admit that I’m not an expert on everything Indy or know all of the names, but I am familiar with Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti, the Andrettis, Dan Wheldon, Scott Dixon, Danica Patrick and others. I grew up watching the Indy 500 on TV every year. I’ve never been to a really major auto race, even living fairly close to Talladega. But, I love shooting motorcycle and auto races practically in my backyard at Barber Motorsports Park. On many weekends, I can walk out my door and hear the distant, faint drone of a congregation of high-revved engines barreling through the turns and straightaways of the “Augusta of racing.” George Barber built a truly world-class facility that fittingly bears his name, starting with a large collection of motorcycles he kept in an old building he owned downtown several years ago ā€“ possibly Birmingham’s best-kept secret that bike aficionados and racers worldwide knew more about than most people right here in Alabama did. That collection is now the world’s largest collection of motorcycles (and still growing), all in pristine condition and beautifully showcased in a huge museum that is beyond description. I now get to do freelance work for them as a designer for their quarterly newsletter, many ads and marketing pieces.

So, as I love to shoot race events at Barber, I was eager since last year when I shot the Indy testing event to be able to shoot this race. Knowing it would be a big-time event I applied for media credentials early, anticipating a full house of fans and media attention. I was also excited that my friend Scott Kelby wanted to come back to shoot with me. We had such a great time shooting last year! We kept checking for that email telling us we’re in and how to get our credentials. But, alas, I was disappointed to discover shortly before race week that the media center was full. I tried all my contacts but couldn’t get creds. They did provide a 3-day pass and paddock access which I was glad to have. Fortunately, Scott and Kelby Media Group COO Dave Moser did get creds and came up for late Saturday and Sunday. I didn’t get to shoot the race with them, but we did walk around downtown Saturday evening and shoot some, and had a fantastic meal at the famous Dreamland BBQ. I had already been at the track in the morning and then watched my son play a double-header of high school baseball before catching up with Scott, Dave and my friend Pete Collins. Those ribs, mac and cheese, sweet tea and ‘nana pudding were awesome and a great way to wrap up the day! Thanks so much to my old friend Walter Kirkland, the boss at Dreamland!!

Sunday came and I arrived at the track early. So what if I had no media pass! I was determined to shoot as much as possible. And it was fun to see the race from a fan’s perspective. I got to talk to many visitors from out-of-state who were so enthusiastic and enjoying the weekend. They all loved this race track and museum! I read that there were over 53,000 fans attending Sunday alone. Cool! When I got tired of walking and shooting I found some of my co-workers lounging and cooking out in the shade by their motorhome on the hill overlooking the track. A cool breeze blowing on a perfect spring day! Ah, that was so nice! Went trackside for the big race in the afternoon and metup with another photographer friend, Bill Israelson, and his son up from Panama City, FL among the crowd sitting under the trees. We went to Victory Lane afterward to shoot the winner celebration for Helio Castroneves and the trophy presentations. While we were doing that, Bill’s son Jeff sneaked off to the drivers’ trailers and just happened to catch Danica Patrick for a couple of seconds and asked her to pose with him for a pic, and got maybe the best shot of the weekend ā€“ both of them with big smiles on their faces!


~ by jeffreyrease on April 12, 2010.

6 Responses to “Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, Scott Kelby and Friends!”

  1. Jeff,

    I have never written on a blog before but I had to when I saw the Helio image under the Izod girl. Simply AWESOME! I always think these images are not as important as the cars. YOU have made me a changed man. Thank you.

    • Thanks, Dan! I couldn’t get closer, so I ‘borrowed’ a chair from one of the crew trailers and stood up on it to get some Victory Lane shots over everyone’s heads.

  2. I love that first pic. The low angle frames the shot really nice.

  3. Your photographs should be displayed in the Louvre Museum! They’re so exquisite. šŸ™‚

  4. WOW AMAZING PICTURES!!! My dream is to be able to shoot like you and Scott, you both are amazing! The one of Danica is awsome, Tony Kannan also!!! I LOVE THEM ALL. I can’t say enough how awsome it is to look at this pictures! I am going to watkings Glen on the 4th, any chance you might be there?! šŸ™‚

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