One of the great things about belonging to a photographic society in a large metroplex is that our membership is huge. With a current membership of 2,181, when we tell an organization that our photographers would like special access to their event, they are only too happy to oblige. That means we often get to go where no one has gone before. Well, no one except the rich, famous, and those with press passes.
One of the more interesting events recently was the road course competition for the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). Decades ago when I was really into my Ford Mustangs, I belonged to the SCCA. Most of our events in College Station, Texas, were at the Texas World Speedway just seven miles southeast of town. That’s where I went the fastest in my 1989 Saleen Mustang—151 mph over a 2-mile oval.
The SCCA road course events here in San Diego occur at Qualcomm Stadium, former home of the San Diego cum Los Angeles Chargers. It’s an interesting road course because it takes place in the parking lot, a parking lot that is very uneven and has elevation changes, not usually good signs for cars going relatively fast, through bumpy turns, and sometimes with inexperienced drivers—Everyone has to start somewhere, right?
Part of our access to the races included walking around where you normally would not be walking around and taking pictures of cars coming at you fast, sometimes out of control. All you can do is keep firing away and hope that the car takes the turn, applies its brakes, and stays on the course so that you can live another day.
Following are some of my favorite pictures. Smoke usually indicates a sudden, hard application of the brakes or a car that is out of control, often going sideways instead of forward. I had found a spot where there was a significant bump in the course. That bump caused some of the car wheels to leave the ground. Wheels off the ground (The name of my next band) usually isn’t good when you’re trying to control a two- or three-thousand pound beast.
The object is to go fast but stay on the course,
which means not running over the orange cones.
This is the area with the significant bump.
Notice these two cars only have three wheels on the ground.
Smoke—drivers hate it but photographers love it.
My heart goes pitter patter when I see Mustangs,
which were the dominant car model at the event.
Yes, a Mustang that is out of control and has run over
at least two cones. Serious penalty points on this one.
When I saw these four tires on the ground with no car around,
the first thing that came to my mind was a Buick 8 or a car named Christine. Stephen King readers will understand.
Coming up next: A visit to the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park.