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Friday, July 23, 2010

2009 Brickyard 400

Last July I covered the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was my first time covering the race although I had shot infield features that May at the Indy 500. I was flying solo as the only photographer covering the race that day for the Indiana Daily Student. It was … well … an interesting experience. I got to the track at about 4 a.m. to avoid traffic, parked in the infield and took a nap in my car. It can be very challenging to photograph inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Unless you work for a big publication, you have no access. There’s also a bunch of security guards (yellow shirts) who hassle the crap out of you at every turn. Walking into the media center I got stopped so I could show some obscure sticker on the back of my credential despite carrying two bodies and having a 300 mm lens thrown over my shoulder. Apparently I didn’t look legit enough. Moral of the story: the bigger the event, the worst the access. This means a smaller opportunity to get good moments. I would much rather shoot a high school basketball championship game than the NBA Finals. Sure, it’s cool to say you shot something like that, but oftentimes the access is better, less stressful and allows you to capture more moments at a smaller event.

Driver Jimmy Johnson, left, soaks crew chief Chad Knaus with champaign after Johnson's team won the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Driver Jimmy Johnson, left, soaks crew chief Chad Knaus with champaign after Johnson's team won the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Pole sitter Mark Martin, far right, waves to fans as he makes his way into the pagoda for driver introductions before the start of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Pole sitter Mark Martin, far right, waves to fans as he makes his way into the pagoda for driver introductions before the start of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Fans watch as cars, including the No. 33 Clint Bowyer car, are pushed down Gasoline Alley towards pit lane before the start of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Fans watch as cars, including the No. 33 Clint Bowyer car, are pushed down Gasoline Alley towards pit lane before the start of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

A member of Matt Kenseth's crew checks tire tread before the start of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

A member of Matt Kenseth's crew checks tire tread before the start of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Several sets of tires sit in Juan Pablo Montoya's pit area before the start of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Several sets of tires sit in Juan Pablo Montoya's pit area before the start of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Chad Knaus, the crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet driven by defending Brickyard winner Jimmy Johnson, looks into the rear wheel-well as the crew makes final adjustments before final inspection on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Chad Knaus, the crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet driven by defending Brickyard winner Jimmy Johnson, looks into the rear wheel-well as the crew makes final adjustments before final inspection on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Fans watch from a suite's balcony as crews prepare cars for final inspection before the start of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Fans watch from a suite's balcony as crews prepare cars for final inspection before the start of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Fans watch as Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet makes its way down Gasoline Alley before the start of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon qualified 22nd.

Fans watch as Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet makes its way down Gasoline Alley before the start of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon qualified 22nd.

Kyle Busch crashes into the wall in turn three during Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Busch's crash triggered cheers from the crowd.

Kyle Busch crashes into the wall in turn three during Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Busch's crash triggered cheers from the crowd.

Driver Juan Pablo Montoya drives into turn three during Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Driver Juan Pablo Montoya drives into turn three during Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The number 88, for driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., is spelled into a fence using crushed beer cans during the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The number 88, for driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., is spelled into a fence using crushed beer cans during the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Driver Jimmy Johnson drives through the short chute between turns three and four during the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Johnson scored his second consecutive Brickyard win after holding off teammate Mark  Martin in the closing laps of the race.

Driver Jimmy Johnson drives through the short chute between turns three and four during the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Johnson scored his second consecutive Brickyard win after holding off teammate Mark Martin in the closing laps of the race.

Driver Juan Pablo Montoya leads the field through the short chute between turns three and four during Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Montoya set the pace early, leading most of the race before a pit road penalty sent him to the end of the field.

Driver Juan Pablo Montoya leads the field through the short chute between turns three and four during Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Montoya set the pace early, leading most of the race before a pit road penalty sent him to the end of the field.

Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. drives into turn three during Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. drives into turn three during Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Juan Pablo Montoya flies through turn three during the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Juan Pablo Montoya flies through turn three during the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Crew chief Chad Knaus, second from right, shares a laugh with car owner Rick Hendrick, right, Chandra Johnson, left, and Jimmy Johnson, the winning driver, after Johnson won the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Crew chief Chad Knaus, second from right, shares a laugh with car owner Rick Hendrick, right, Chandra Johnson, left, and Jimmy Johnson, the winning driver, after Johnson won the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 26, 2009, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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