The buzz around Homestead is always a highlight of the year. The final race. Three champions. Plus knowing that you’re going to have to deal with Miami traffic, crazy track security, and swarms of fans fighting for position on the front stretch post-race, it’s a whirlwind for sure. Being on track staff once again, the crew has to cover a lot of ground. I’ve tried to include a few extra shots that may not be the most compelling, but they will help tell the story of what track photogs have to shoot throughout the weekend.

Since I knew I wouldn’t have time during the weekend, I spent a few hours at the track on Thursday trying out some new stuff. It’s always good to experiment, but you have to accept the fact that it may not work out and you may be left with nothing to show for it. In this instance, it didn’t work out, and I had nothing to show for it. Oh well, I learned some good lessons. Moving on…

On Friday Ben and I got up bright and early to head to the track for the sunrise, a fishing tournament, and the 8:30am truck series practice session. It was a pretty normal day overall; practice sessions, photos in the garage, qualifying, race. After a late night in victory lane, it was time to leave (midnight) and get ready for another early morning sunrise shot.

A lofty 3 hours of sleep later (pictured here), Logan and I headed to the track for another sunrise shoot. We made a circle through the campgrounds looking for anyone stirring, and then made our way back to the media center to get caught up on the truck race edits. Much of the day was spent shooting hospitality tents and suites before the start of the Xfinity race. During the Xfinity race something new and exciting happened to me. I was thrown out of a pit stall that had no pit crew, no tires, and no fuel, for being “distracting.” The team ended up parking the car about 5 laps later. Oh well, moving on…

Sunday had a little bit of everything. Pace car rides, hospitality tents, suites, meet and greets, a concert, driver intros, fans, race action, and then the championship stage. But, as was the case last year, it seemed like a free-for-all on the front stretch after the race. Scores of media, pr, teams, and fans packed onto pit road fighting for position to be the first ones on the tiny walking bridge over the pit wall. It’s a claustrophobic nightmare. Thankfully I was standing in-between walls and avoided the crowd somewhat, before pushing myself into position to cross the gate. Afterwards, it was a frustrating mess, which was to be expected. Fighting for shooting position, people going where they’re not (suppose to be) allowed, cell phones, monopods, and selfie sticks all raised high in the air. You do what you can and then move on.

Logan and I left the track at 1:30am, arrived at the hotel at 2, and set my alarm for a whopping hour and 15 minute nap before heading to the airport.

17 Cup races, 16 Xfinity races, 11 CWTS races, 4 ARCA races, 3 NASCAR Next events, 3 Bristol events, and 2 IMSA races. I’m extremely thankful for all the folks that I’ve got to work with this year. NEMCO Motorsports, Michael Self, Dalton Sergeant, Bret Holmes, Spencer Davis, NASCAR Next, Harold Hinson Photography, LAT Photography, Harrelson Photography, and Nigel Kinrade Photography. These great people put me in awesome position do to really neat stuff. For instance, the cover shot of the latest issue of Autoweek, in stores now.

I couldn’t imagine the year going anything like this. You can’t get better at your craft without practice, and this year I’m thankful got a lot of practice.

On Mike Thweatt…

Mike was a sweet man with a huge heart. He was a good friend and one of the people that I looked forward most to seeing at the Nashville Fairgrounds. I hope all of the Fairgrounds people know how much he loved all of you. I will continue to pray for his wife Sue and all of his family during this difficult time.