Elisa Svee and I caught the local short track racing action at Raceway Park in Shakopee, MN.
This was a very difficult shoot, as the conditions were not good. It was dark, so that required very high ISO settings (which I hate), and even then I was using shutter speeds that were way too slow for these cars. I was also shooting through a safety (“catch”) fence. With that said, do not expect the high-quality image results you normally see here.
The music for this page is 1996’s “Load” by Metallica. Kirk Hammett’s signature riff at 1:23 of “Bleeding Me” is still magical after all these years.
A look at the gathered crowd. Check out the jackets…even a blanket is present. I was wearing a NASCAR jacket and Elisa had a Winter coat on. We had wind-chills in the 40’s…is this really late July?
A close look at typical Raceway Park competitor. These are local guys out of their garage, but I’m telling ya, the racing is very entertaining.
Two in the “Legends” class go at it in a side-by-side battle.
A feature at the “Action Attraction” (as stated by their excellent PA announcer) are the Figure 8 races. Here is one underway.
Believe it or not, this was not a wreck! There were a large handful of close calls and one glancing blow during the Figure 8 races.
The 61 car waves the checkered flag after his victory.
Our Intermission entertainment; tank versus cars. Tank wins. Check out the glass exploding on the losing side.
As daylight fades the next series of racing events begin. Here the catch fence adds to the feel of the image, but it was mostly in the way.
Night has fallen and I combined two frames here for this stitched panoramic. This was taken from my favorite spot; high up in Turn 4.
The Legends go at it under the lights. I cropped this shot crooked and like it. Look at that ISO. Is this really Blue Light Pix, or some other site?
One of my favorites is the Flag Pole Race. The cars do essentially a shortened Figure 8 (no crossroad) and then have to go around an obstacle before continuing; that being flag in the tire. Fun to watch!
Time now for what everyone is waiting for…the Screwel Bus Race! The term “Screwel” (in place of “School”) was coined by Rush Limbaugh. Elisa and I were probably the only two calling them that.
A close-up of the screwel bus graffiti from one the contestants before the race begins. This shows the D7100 does a pretty good job at ISO 6400, if there is enough light. I snuck my camera through a spot in the catch-fence before security could bark at me.
The highlight of the race! The driver had been purposely flirting with flipping his screwel bus for a few laps, and on the final circuit, over he went! Much to the delight of the crowd! Oh, don’t worry, he was fine.
A perfect closing shot. Pretty hard to find someone who didn’t walk away happy after a fun night of racing.
Raceway Park is not only a fun place to go, it is a piece of Americana. However, the sad news is 2013 is the final season; Raceway Park will shut down beginning in 2014. I say thanks for the memories…always a warm spot in my heart for this local short track.
all images © Scott Woelm – July 2013