(Photos by the author) — So Nutting kicked off a series of “BangShift Photo Highlight Reel” stories that we’re going to run featuring all of our contributors who want to cull their best stuff and send it in for us to show off. It is a neat way to look back at the year that was and get excited about the coming race season. I am pretty sure that I attended more events and more diverse events in 2013 than I have in any other year of my existence. It was a spectacular campaign that took me from one end of the country to the other and back again more times than I can count. Most of these adventures were BangShift related, whether we were live broadcasting or simply covering something, I was there for the site. A fair number of them were for other stuff like shooting the video for the Diesel Power Challenge, announcing Drag Week, and other such madness. I have included a bunch of photos from those events too because it helps fill out the year and frankly we’ve never run them before so they’re a fun glimpse behind the scenes of what was going on.
2014 promises to be a great year for the site and a great year for those of you who read it. Things are looking up in all corners of the industry, new cars are being built for multiple series, and we’re planning our most aggressive year of coverage and content yet. I am going to try and slot these photos in the correct chronological order for 2013, but I may goof a time or two. Either way, I hope you dig them and I hope you check out al the coming attractions in this series. Our contributors are hella talented people and their work is top shelf.
The year in photos begins with the PRO Winter Warm Up test session at Palm Beach International Raceway in Florida. Being that it is a closed event, the access is unreal and I was able to get a couple of cool photos –
Nutting told you about our eventful trip to the Vermonster Sno-bog up in Vermont. This is my favorite vehicle of the event, mainly because the driver was a lunatic. I’m into that.
Moving on from there, it was the March Meet that really got the BangShift year kicked off in style. There’s nothing like this event and it should be on your bucket list –
Early in April, New England Dragway opened for the year and my sons were itching to hit the strip after dad got a head start on them at Bakersfield. We loaded up the jackets and ear protection and got after it.
The next cool thing on the 2013 docket was a gig hosting the video coverage of the Diesel Power Magazine Challenge. This is a wild competition between highly modified diesel trucks held in Colorado. Driving through the Eisenhower tunnel at over 11,000ft above sea level allowed me to check off a box on my gearhead bucket list.
As the Spring rolled along, I was able to shoot some car features and of course we attended lots of local cruises with Buford T Justice and my boys. Here are some cool memories from that part of the year –
Through the summer it was more travel, more announcing, more racing coverage, and more fun. Here are a few “randoms” from that period of time. The guy behind the Dodge is Magnante, the guy with the trophy is Jake Amatisto, and the two lunatics running into the cold water off of a Maine beach are my two lunatic sons. While I travel a lot for “work”, when I am home we try to zip off for as many little day trips and weekends as we can as a family. They are always fun.
You guys know that I am a freak for history so when given the chance to stop at the shop of Art Arfons of Pickle Rd. in Akron, I was delighted. I held the wheel bearing that caused Art’s incredible 605mph crash that nearly killed him in the middle 1960s. This is the wheel bearing in question.
The next thing of significance than I can remember was Bonneville and it was the singular greatest automotive experience of my life. No shame in admitting some tears at points of the week when I was walking around covering the news of the day. Simply amazing. It is also where I shot my favorite photo of the year. The one with the girl and the dude on the bike tells a great story about what it is like to be at the starting line on the salt. There’s minutes of serenity, intense focus, and the infinity of the salt. Chad and I also ate slushies as both of us were sick as dogs with colds of varying intensity.
After Bonneville, the legendary Drag Week was next on the docket. I announced this event again but had to leave early due to a commitment to the NHRA for announcing the Epping Hot Rod Reunion. I was busy preparing and writing Bangshift content each day on the Drag Week adventure so my photos were limited to cell phone snaps. Here’s a couple from the road that I liked. Just like Bonneville, there is NOTHING like Drag Week.
The New England Hot Rod Reunion was one of my favorite races of the year because it showcased the rich history of drag racing in New England. It was also at my home track and I was the announcer along with Mike Williams who has always been a great mentor to me in the booth. It was like old times. This photo was taken in the tower during the race by Paul Lorenti. I think it was my singular favorite moment of 2013. Both of these guys are all-time legends and to be able to share some floor space and in 2014 join a rank of NHRA national event announcers is truly special. I am very glad that it all went down in Epping.
October brought the awesome California Hot Rod Reunion and our last visit to Bakersfield for the year. This race is incredible and while the March Meet may be more hardocre competition, there is nothing to rival the pageantry and history on displace at the CHRR. The final shot is one that I really like and blasted with my cell phone while Chad and I were tearing down the scaffolding at the close of the race on Sunday.
A scant couple of weeks later Chad and I were at SEMA 2013 catching up on the latest and greatest in the industry and working business deals for 2014. All of the stuff leading up to SEMA was fantastic and we had our normal good time at the show, basically not sleeping for 72 hours. It is always an awesome week.
…and here we are in December. I was just involved with the first ever Roadkill LIVE! show at PRI where David and Mike swapped an LS into the Crusher Camaro over a couple days, set up the EFI and they are literally driving it home as you read this.
So that’s it for me. Our talented contributors are sending their stuff in as they get it done so you’ll see more of these items over the next couple of weeks. I know I say this a lot but THANK YOU. There is nothing cooler than meeting a reader or live stream video fan at an event, at an airport, in a holding cell, wherever. I cannot express to you in more sincere terms my appreciation for you hanging out here at BangShift. Five years ago it was a very small blip on the radar when Chad and I took the keys to this deal and today we have grown and continue to grow at rates that shock even us. That’s only because of you. On behalf of my family, I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a safe, prosperous, and FAST 2014.