And it begins…

It was only a couple months ago that my 2012 drag racing season came to a close. Yesterday, it cranked back up with the first test and tune of the year, held at Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip. Unfortunately, the turnout was weak, but it worked out well for my friend Josh, who made numerous passes in his turbo Maverick. The questionable weather, and the big race in Valdosta put a damper on the turnout, but it was a great chance to get out for the first time in a while. Check out my full gallery of pictures here: http://byrdphoto.smugmug.com/Cars/Brainerd/Brainerd-Opening-Day-2013

Brainerd Drag Strip Test 2013 Click HERE for more!

Best of 2012: Drag Racing

Alright, I’m running behind on this stuff, but here we go! My favorite drag racing photos of 2012!

Mustang Wheelstand

Small block, stock suspension car doing its thing. Shot at the Bounty Race at I-40 Dragway.

Click HERE for more pictures!

Test and Tune Action at Brainerd

As if I already didn’t have enough to do, I decided to go to Brainerd Drag Strip a couple of Fridays ago. I had not yet tested the G8 GT after the new exhaust, so it was a good chance to do so, since the temperatures were cool. I heard a lot of other folks were going to be testing, so I figured I could go shoot a few pictures, test the car and shoot the bull.

Dodge Viper Drag Racing

Usually, when you see Dodge Vipers at the drag strip, they spin the tires and generally perform poorly. This one, however, hooked pretty good and ran 7’s in the eighth mile.

Click HERE for more pictures!

Fall Bracket Bash at Brainerd

Yep…still trying to get caught up on event coverages! The first weekend of October included two drag racing events in the same day. The second half of my day was spent at Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip for the Fall Bracket Bash, which also featured the 4.70 index guys and the new 275 drag radial heads up class. Honestly, I went to this event only because of the 275 class, but was surprised at the great turnout of cars in the bracket classes. A lot of cool stuff that I’d never seen before, so it definitely made for a great event!

Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip Bracket Bash 2012

The 4.70 index cars are always fun to watch, especially when it involves two ’57 Chevys!

Click HERE for more pictures!

Draggin’ for Toys 2011

I’d been looking forward to it all year, so I was excited to leave the house Saturday morning to photograph the Draggin’ for Toys charity race, held at Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip. I’ve photographed the event for the past couple of years, and there are always a few feature-worthy cars at the race, so I never actually have a chance to run my own car. I still like to drive it to the event to support the cause, but running it is out of the question when I’m shooting features, and racing coverage all day. So, this year marked the 10th Draggin’ for Toys event, which is quite impressive based on the fact that it is organized and promoted by volunteers. Unfortunately, the list of volunteers has shrunk in the past few years, so I stepped in to help market the event and draw a big crowd.

Draggin' for Toys

Draggin' for Toys always brings out a great deal of FAST street cars, like this turbocharged Mustang, which ran deep into the 6's.

Click HERE for many more pictures!

Killer Corvette…

Last year at the Draggin’ for Toys charity race, held at Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip, I shot a few cars. One of them was an awesome C6 Z06, which is an all motor car built by the guys at Injected Engineering. Very slick and very fast, the Corvette definitely caught my eye, so I shot it for Vette magazine. It recently ran, so I’m trying a new thing where I post a photo of the article, then a link to the site for the magazine’s online content. Check it out…

Tommy Lee Byrd Photography

This feature turned out great! The light was just right for a black car, so I am very happy with the results.

Click HERE for more pictures of the article!

The End of an Era…Almost

Rumors have been swirling about the future of Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip, and in all honesty, it doesn’t look too promising. For the past 17 years, Steve Longley has leased the track, and he’s been in control of operations, but this is his final year at the helm. According to the rumors, the Optimist Club is taking over operations, and plans to only run bracket races on Saturdays. No heads up races and no test and tune nights. This is not a good sign. My dad said he remembers when the Optimist Club tried to operate the track in the ’80s and it nearly went under. This time, the track isn’t carrying nearly as much momentum as it had in the ’80s, so a change in management might just cripple it to the point of closing the doors. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

Byrd Photo

Kind of an eerie photo from atop the hill at Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip. Sad times.

Click HERE for more pictures!