Twice around the clock. Grueling. For those covering the race the actual 'work day' is more like the 36 Hours of Daytona. When I look back I realize this blog post could be called the 120 Hours of Daytona. I ended up on site from Wed until Sunday with the final day being a full 36 hours at the Speedway. Follow along through the weekend with some insight and the schedule that we work through and finish up with a highlight gallery from the weekend. Photos are pulled from my instagram where I tracked every hour - Check it on my instagram - Click Here
Saturday 7am - Alarm goes off and we make our way to the speedway. 830am there is a photographer's meeting where we go over the rules.
The morning is filled with different photoshoots and special events. One of the most important this year was teams hosting Children's Tumor Foundation NF Heroes. I have made many friends in this group and excited to see the kids come each and every year. You can see the thrill on their faces when they realize they can get up close and personal with these machines! Also teams do last minute driver change practices and car prep.
At this point it is ~1130am. It is time to grab some lunch and then head to the autograph session. At Daytona this has a pretty standard setup and each team gets a corner and sets up shop. Big lines form and we have the challenge of not interrupting the fan's enjoyment and getting the photos we need. Straight from the driver's meeting we head out to the grid as teams roll their cars out to grid. It's an awesome sight as the facial expressions show everything. Apprehension and eagerness to get the race started!
Shortly after this the race starts and the work day technically 'begins'. Not that things have not been happening up to that point but now we are shifting into 2nd gear and really getting things started. From 240pm for ~3 hours I am trackside capturing images. Stockpiling race day images for usage at a later point.
Come inside and download. Edit a few samples to send out to clients. Luckily a friend brought me some Five Guys, Thanks Justin, which although I technically already had eaten dinner I scarfed down. Unknown when the next actual meal will happen and once the night time hits there is no more real food minus the vendors in the infield.
At this point we head back out for sunset which this year wasn't great but some light did end making it's presence known. Every year something seems to happen to ruin the sunset or sunrise in some fashion. This year was clouds and only a small window of color happened. Most hang out trackside for another 1-2 hours and work on some initial night photos. Come inside somewhere around 9-10pm. Download. Edit. head to pit lane for night pit stops.
Somewhere around 2-3am some try to grab a quick nap... and the work spaces are starting to look real messy! It just happens...
Back outside for more night time shooting!
Head inside and I grabbed a quick 30min nap. First sleep in almost 24 hours. Then we wait and prep for sunrise.
The rest of the day is basically a whirlwind. The sun rises and there are many locations that are must have photos to capture the end of the race. Through the night the cars have become dirty, battered and beaten. Time to capture that unique look that a 24 Hour race prvides! And then... it is all over and everyone clears out. Almost instantly it seems. Media are all inside working on photos, PR and getting results out. Teams, Crew and Drivers are all in their garages reflecting on their success, what might have been or licking wounds. The paddock becomes somewhat of a ghost town almost... This same spot ~24 hours ago was SLAMMED with people for the autograph session.
We download, edit and share. I end up getting into bed ~8pm and worked for somewhere between 1-2 hours more. I honestly don't really remember. Woke up and drove home. Tuesday to Tuesday for a single "24 Hour Race". This year was an amazing experience and an even better race. I suspect 2017 will bring much of the same!
And it still feels like it is nap time. Until next time Daytona! Enjoy a selection of my favorite images from the weekend.