This summer Chase Elliott, son of NASCAR racing legend Bill Elliott, won his first Monster Energy Cup race at Watkins Glen on August 5th. Then he won two more races in quick succession; Dover on Oct 7th and Kansas City on Oct 21st which solidified his arrival into the small world of successful top tier NASCAR drivers. NASCAR is a family affair, The Petty’s, Allison’s, Waltrip’s, Labonte’s, Jarrett’s and Earnhardt’s are names synonymous with the sport’s success. And now the Elliott’s have joined that group.
I was primarily a still photographer until 2008 or so. That’s when I evolved into full time video production. Before then I had worked on numerous video shoots making still photos during the breaks and resets. Occasionally I was sucked into a grip role with the video crew, usually because I was tall and could reach things or handle a boom microphone.
In February of 2000, I was hired to be a part of a nine-person group of photographers to shoot a coffee table book on the Daytona Speedweeks. Speedweeks is 10 days of practice, qualifying and races that kicks off the NASCAR stock car racing season each year. I was the “motorhead” of the group because I had covered auto racing before and had become a fan of sorts. Motor racing needs to be seen in person to fully appreciate the speed, noise, smell and energy that it entails. Being as knowledgeable as I was, I was an asset to the team. I could walk through the garage and recognize crew chiefs and some owners, and most drivers without their uniforms on.
During qualifying, which was a one car at a time affair in those days, lots of wives and kids would be around the pit area waiting for their husbands or fathers to take to the track.
Here is my photo of young Chase Elliott talking on the walkie talkie radio which made it into the book. And a shot from this year which is not my photo.
Eighteen years later I’m still watching NASCAR races and following the families in the fast lane. Now that I live in Florida I’m able to go to Daytona as a fan and get my annual dose of the spectacle that is NASCAR.
Here are a few more photos of mine from the 2000 Speedweeks book.
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Written by: Bill Sallaz, Owner
Specializing in Web Video Production Services
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