A Track Photographer's View: NASCAR Rolls Into Road America Once Again!!

Road America has been host to some of the best racing of the year so far in 2017.  NASCAR is about to take on one of the best road courses in the country.  The Johnsonville 180 will bring in plenty of opportunities for photos, not to mention the thousands of fans that will be crawling around the scenic acres in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

It Is Much More Than NASCAR

One of the best things about events that come to Road America is the fact that you are getting much more than just the featured event.  The NASCAR Xfinity Series is likely to be the biggest draw of the weekend, but according to the schedule, ARCA and the SCCA Pro Trans AM will also be showing off for the fans!  NASCAR, ARCA and the Pro Trans AM cars will be testing and will be practicing a little bit on Friday so if you have the weekend ticket (best deal), you are going to see 3 full days of cars on the track.  Sunday is the featured race day with 25 laps of ARCA kicking off at  12:15 and the 45 laps of NASCAR coming right after that at 2:00.

What About The Camera Gear And Stuff?

I had such good times with the Canon 2x Extender III that I am considering renting that again for the weekend and putting it on my 70-200mm F2.8 II USM lens.  That gives me a 400mm lens with an F5.6 on the high end, which is more than enough at Road America, especially if there is enough light.  I am planning on shooting for Saturday and Sunday for sure.  And just like I have for all of the other races, I will be concentrating on the racing, of course, but also check out the sites around the paddock.  Photographing fan interaction has become very fun over the course of this season.

Don't Forget About the Parade

Last season, I got the drone up in the air as the NASCAR hauler parade came through the area on Friday afternoon. Towards the end of the day on Friday, after all of the SCCA and ARCA track activities, the haulers will be grouping up and driving to Road America from the Plymouth High school.  This is a great time to get fan interaction shots, as well as, get the drone up in the air for an aerial view of what is going on.  I really hope the weather does cooperate and provide some nice, evening sun for the photos and videos.

The NASCAR Hauler Parade Starts at 2:30 in Plymouth on Friday, August 25th

Gaps In Track Activities Make Things Easier

Because I am essentially at Road America to photograph the event, there are many things that I have to pay attention to, as well as, be ready for.  Not only are the track events scheduled evenly throughout the day, there is only 1 scheduled lunch period and that is on Friday.  That usually means there is going to be non-stop action on the track.  That is GREAT for those of you sitting in the grassy areas and grandstands, but it makes planning things a little more hectic for me.  The tentative schedule is showing events starting on the hour, but we all know what that means.  Odds are good that there will be more gaps than the schedule has right now.

Come On Out And Enjoy The Road America Experience



WeatherTech International Challenge with Brian Redman Is Up Next

Road America is about to get loud.  I mean, it is always loud, but this event is going to be a different kind of loud.  Road America is going to be hosting the WeatherTech International Challenge with Brian Redman presented by Hawk event on July 20, 21, 22, 23.

What does this mean?

2016 WeatherTech International Challenge w/Brian Redman

This means that as a spectator you are going to be able to see some of the coolest, fastest, loudest and oldest race cars from the vintage to modern era.  With classes, or groups as they are referred to on the schedule, Historic Can-am, Vintage Sports Racers, Formula 5000, Modern GT/Trans-Am and Pre War, there is going to be something for everyone to see.

For me, this means a lot of track time and wandering through the Paddock area grabbing photos of proud owners as they chat with fans about their favorite racing memory or garage find.  This weekend I will be specializing in getting around to each corner of the 600+ acre property to show the spectators what they can expect when they arrive.

The weekend ticket is still the best deal and is only $105 for access to the track Thursday through Sunday night.  You are also able to get access to the Paddock and garage areas, concession stands all around the property, disc golf, autograph sessions and more!

The schedule is jammed pack with racing action

Of course, Thursday is going to be a little dead for action, but it is a great day to stack out the property, setup your camping area or just enjoy the weather, sights, and sounds of the track and some good track food!  Friday and Saturday are when the action picks up with each group getting two rounds of qualifying.

Saturday is a great, fun day to be at the track later in the day as all of those that brought out their hot rods, will be lining up on highway 67 to make way into downtown Elkhart Lake for the Concours d'Elegance car show.  Fans love this and if you are still at the track between 5-6 PM, then you get to see them all parade out of the property.  Awards for Best of Show is at 10 AM Sunday with the Concours d'Elegance Awards being presented at NOON in Victory Lane.

By Sunday at 9 AM, the racing will begin starting with Group 8 (Historic Production) and about every 30 minutes after that, different cars are on the track!  The last race is at 5:10 PM on Sunday, which caps off a great weekend of racing, food and awesome cars!

If you would like your car photographed on track or off, use the button below to contact me.  In the meantime, check out my INDYCAR, MOTOAMERICA or JUNE SPRINTS gallery!

If you'd like more information, please see www.roadamerica.com.


  • Group 1: Historic Can-Am (1965-1974)
  • Group 2: Vintage Production Sport Cars, Sedans Group 3a: Vintage Sports Racers/Modifieds/USRRC
  • Group 3b: Vintage A/B Production
  • Group 4a: Monoposto Classic Formula Cars (<1972)
  • Group 4b: Formula Super Vee, Formula Continental (slicks)
  • Group 5a: Monoposto F70 (Wings & Slicks) Formula Cars
  • Group 5b: Historic Sports Racing
  • Group 6: Historic Big-Bore Production Sports Cars/Sedans/Trans-Am
  • Group 7a: Formula 5000 Group 7b: Masters Grand Prix Formula One (3.0L)
  • Group 8: Historic/Post-Historic Productions Sports Cars/Sedans
  • Group 9a: Modern Formula One/Indy/Indy Lites, etc. Group 9b: Modern GTP/WSC/LMP/Daytona Prototype
  • Group 10: Modern GT/Trans-Am/IMSA GT/NASCAR
  • Group 11: Sports 2000 Feature Group
  • Group 12: Camaro 50th Anniversary Feature Race Pre War & Early Post War

My View: 2017 MotoAmerica Dunlop Championship at Road America

When you head to Road America in the beginning of June, what do you expect?  Sunny skies, large crowds, and fast motorcycles, right?  Depending on the weather, that is NOT always the case, but when I got ready for the 2017 Dunlop Championship at Road America this year, the weather was looking pretty good for race day.

Friday, 7 AM - Gates ARE Open

One of the best things about being at the races is that the track is a short distance from my home.  If I had to drive more than an hour to get there, the ride in would be a tough one for me, even though I am generally a morning person.  The weather was gray.  Possibly a few rain showers later in the day, but for the most part practice and qualifying were going to be cool and overcast.

This is a little easier on the camera work that I do, but when my main focus is fan interaction and things like that, having nice weather is more desirable.  When the gates open up at 7 AM, you know exactly what to expect when you see fans lined up to get an early glimpse of what's in the paddock.

The weather didn't really get any nicer that day, but I had a plan for photos, so I made my way around the track.  As the practice sessions and the first round of qualifying finished up you could tell the fans were starting to roll in.  Turn 5 saw a nice grouping, as well as the campers that were packed into the carousel area, so that was nice to see.  Even with the pending rain on the way in the next 36-48 hours, campers were putting up tents and setting up the area they rented for the weekend.  The excitement was sure to come.

I finished up Friday a little early and headed home to go through the images and edit the video footage I captured.  Tomorrow would be another day.


Saturday & Sunday seemed like a blur

When I got to the track on Saturday morning, things did not look good.  And by "things" I mean the weather.  There was a steady downpour and that looked like it was not going to let up at all within the next 2 hours.  The track was drenched and it was going to be a miracle anyone was going to show up for the qualifying and races later that day.

The crowd of motorcycle fans was not going to let a little rain mess up the weekend.  The qualifying started right at 8:30, and since the MotoAmerica series runs in the rain, the fans had to suck it up to see some action.

Yamaha and Suzuki dominated all weekend long and that included the 2 qualifying and 1 last practice session for the groups.

Click here for Motul Superbike Class Practice 3 Full RESULTS

After the last chance qualifier, the Superpole and the stunt show, we were on our way to lunch break and the autograph session.  I took some time to setup for the 69 seconds of silence that was coming for Nicky Hayden.  His younger brother was taking the commemorative flag around the track for one lap and it was sure to be a crowd favorite.

Roger Hayden flying through Turn 7 at Road America during the 2017 Dunlop Championship

Racing for the afternoon was going to include:
KTM RC CUP RACE 1 (7 LAPS) - Full Results

Knowing that I wanted to be in position for the best possible shots of the leaders as they came around the track.  The crowds were starting to really pack Road America at this time making it a little harder to get around, even with the moped.

Sunday was just like Saturday in regards to the racing schedule, but that was it.  The weather cleared up, the temps climbed higher throughout the day and the crowd was out of hand!  Hundreds of motorcycle fans came into the paddock to park their bikes, chat with other riders and enjoy seeing other custom creations.

Knowing the racing was going to be a blast on a faster track, I parked myself at my favorite corner (Turn 6-7) and waited.  You can see my gallery here.  With the racing in the afternoon and the long, scheduled lunch break, I knew it was going to be a long day until podium time.

MotoAmerica changed things up a little this time around, allowing fans a little closer to the podium celebration.  For the most part, it was a success.  The crowds gathered each time and really enjoyed being able to listen to what the racers had to say about their race.

The weekend was great!  Even with the cooler day on Friday and the rain on Saturday, I tell everyone the same thing.  It was a great weekend with great crowds and even better racing.  Next up is the June Sprints and if you like what you see here, come on back for the post race gallery.


Click here to see the 2017 MotoAmerica Dunlop Championship Gallery