Last Sunday (September 18th), David Jr. and I went to an NHRA drag race.  We attended the O’Reilly Auto Parts Nationals at the zMax Dragway in Concord, North Carolina.  The weather was absolutely perfect for racing—I told David that we might witness new world records.  Well we did!  This photo  is from a record-setting race;  The US Army car, driven by Tony Schumacher, ran an all time speed record for Top Fuel Dragster of a blistering 327.90mph!  This was David Jr.’s first time seeing a Top Fuel race in person.  He had seen them on TV, but there is nothing like experiencing the mind numbing power of these cars up close.  I highly recommend going to see a Top Fuel drag race if you never have experienced it yourself.

I shot 177 pictures during the time we were there—I really just wanted to watch the racing, so I only shot a few dragster’s, a couple of funny cars, a couple of pro-stock and one set of pro-modified.  Since it was an overcast sky, I wanted the lowest iso possible with the highest shutter speed and smaller aperture, so I set the D200 at 200 iso and selected aperture priority at f/8.  The shot above was 1/320 sec.  I had the camera set for continuous high-speed shutter and “tried” to follow the cars as best I could.  I waited for them to stage at the tree—I couldn’t see the staging lights from where we were sitting (John Force Grand Stand, section J, row 33), so I had to guess when to push the shutter release.  These cars are so loud that I actually jerked the camera when they took off!  I followed them all the way to the end of the track.  I am surprised the memory card was able to keep up with the high-speed capture rate, since I was shooting in camera raw.  I managed to take 17 shots during this particular 3.775 second run.

David and I had a great time.  We hope to go there again as a family in April of 2012 to see the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.  That will be absolutely crazy loud!  Hopefully I can get closer to the action!

If you want to read more about the event we attended, just click here.

-david