My husband the NASCAR driver….

…..well for about 5 minutes anyway!

I think my husband’s love for all wheeled vehicles started with his matchbox car collection which still holds a valued place in his home office.

When he was growing up he would help his father work on cars any chance he got.  As a teenager he and his friend Andy (the best man at our wedding) spent hours tinkering with Andy’s 1957 Chevy.  I asked if they ever got it to run and he said it ran well, but they would replace the engine or the transmission just because they could.  Cruising to school in the hot rod was a favorite pastime.  Sure wish I had a picture of that.

Eventually Andy and Dave started a yearly tradition of traveling to Indiana for the Memorial Day Indianapolis 500 race.

That lasted for about ten years before kids and family commitments started to get in the way.  Although occasionally he has been to both Indy and NASCAR races since then.

It was about this same time Dave bought a new bicycle and started riding with family and friends.  I am thinking he rode in the annual MS-150 charity bicycle ride for about 10-12 years before all of his bicycle buddies started hitting 50 years old.  Then they all went out and bought Harleys!  You can read about that transition from bicycles to motorcycles by clicking here.

Through all of these other wheeled past-times Dave has never lost his love for cars.  I think he has been a subscriber to Car and Driver Magazine for at least 30 years.  If he is watching TV it is typically some car show……do you know how many different car shows one can find on cable?!?!?

I provided all this history to give you a feel for his life long love affair with vehicles (two or four wheels).  When I was trying to decide what to get him for this birthday this year I happened across the NASCAR Racing Experience at the Kansas Speedway.  It was the perfect present for him!

A week ago it was time for him to cash in his present and I have to admit it was a fun activity even for us spectators.  The staff was wonderful and extremely safety conscience.  Dave started with a 40 minute training session for drivers. He said he had not been nervous at all until the instructor started talking about all the things to remember;  where to drive on the track, where to keep the RPM’s (5000 or less), no burn-outs, make sure the left wheel does not touch the apron or the car may spin out, and many other “rules.”

We upgraded his “experience” to allow him to ride with a professional driver before he drove on his own.  Oh yes, there are many opportunities to upgrade only limited by the amount of money you want to spend!  Dave and the driver did three laps and got up to at least 160 mph.  I am not sure that provided much relief for his concern.

As he was preparing for his solo experience I realized I would never even be able to ride in one of these vehicles.  Do you know they do not have doors?   You have to crawl in and out through the window!  Even if I could do that, there is a claustrophobia factor there.

Since NASCAR is synonymous with loud, here is a short video with the pit crew signaling that he is buckled in and ready to go.


He finally got to drive all by himself, although there was a spotter watching and talking to him through a speaker in his helmet the entire time.  The control tower even has a remote control where they can turn off your car if you are not following the rules.  Overall, he said it was harder than he thought it would be but he loved every minute of it!  He was a little disappointed because he only got his speed up to 146 mph!!! That seems pretty darn fast to me….

My guess is that this was just enough to whet his appetite!




A Man and his Harley

This week’s assignment in my photography class was to practice a technique called panning.  From a photography perspective, panning is a technique used to suggest fast motion and bring out the subject from other elements in the frame.   When I thought about a fast moving subject I could photograph the first thing that came to mind was Dave and his Harley.  I did not even need to ask twice for him to be part of this photo shoot!

To achieve this effect the photographer must move the camera along with the moving subject and the exposure must be relatively long to allow the background to blur.  The photo above was shot at a shutter speed of 1/60.  It also helps to use the continuous shooting mode on your camera which I had never used before trying this technique.   In high-speed continuous shooting mode my camera will take 8 shots per second….that is fast!  In the 30 minutes total that I spent shooting these photos over two different occasions, I took over 400 shots.  Boy am I glad we are in the digital photography age…..that would have been over 10 rolls of film to develop back in the old days.

Our instructor also wanted us to take some shots of the moving subject but keep the camera stationary so we could get a feel for the opposite effect of panning.    With the goal of panning to have your subject in focus and your background blurred, holding your camera stationary with the same type of shots will result in your subject blurred but your background in focus.  The photo below shows this type of shot.

This was a really fun assignment for me and one that I felt comfortable with since it was much more about the technical side than the creative side of photography.  Besides that, I ended up with some great shots of Dave and his motorcycle.  I think we might even have one or two (out of 400+) that is frame worthy!

While you are here, check out the new post on the ABC Dinner Club page….G is for Gaslight Grill.