Guest Blog: Larry Chen>> I Had No Idea Darth Vader Drag Raced

I've shot all types of motorsports from off road racing to hill climbs. However, this was my first drag racing event and boy have I missed out. There were no emotions. No smiles, cheers or laughs… until your team won. Then it's an all out celebration. I have never seen this kind of atmosphere in motorsports. This was intense. When the top fuel cars would do a burnout past me they would spit nitro methane all over my camera, my lens and my face. When they would pass me under full throttle my whole body would shake, and I would shudder from inner ear vibrations, even though I had ear plugs in. 

Top fuel dragsters vanish into a cloud of tire smoke when doing burnouts. 

The guy plugging his ears, watches his son do a nice wheelie off the line. 

I liked that every person on the team had an important role from the staging to finish. 

The concentration from the drivers is amazing. These dragsters do go sideways, and when they do there is so little room for error. 

As always, safety is number one. These dragsters nostalgic dragsters still go over 250mph in a quarter mile. 

One of the members of the pit crew, makes sure the driver is good before he removes some sort of aluminum tank from the dragster. 

Mom gives daughter a squeeze before go time. 

Even though there was cloud cover, it was a warm October day for central California. 

I think the fire protection the drivers wear could easily double as their Halloween costume. 

Track temps changed drastically because of the cloud cover. Everyone including drivers constantly checked the temperature of the track. 

Drivers in vintage dragsters get ready for the Cackle fest. 

I noticed there was quite a bit of downtime in between some of the runs for sweepers to clean off the clutch dust etc… That gave time for drivers to walk the track and pick up debris. 

It was interesting to see so many women in the drag racing community. 

There were quite a few women driving the event. Including Leah Pruett-LeDuc, the 2010 Series Champ in Nostalgia Funny Car (not pictured here). 

Too bad there are not as many women drivers and pit crew in the drifting world. 

I got in the way of so many people during the event. I looked behind me after I snapped this shot to see a team waiting patiently for me to move.

The pushers are sometimes just as interesting as the dragsters. 

I can only imagine how fast your hands get weathered from all the nitro methane. Not to mention all the busted knuckles from wrenching so much. 

It amazes me that the drivers can still see down the track with that huge engine block in front of them. 

There were some interesting characters around the pits. 

I feel like I had to learn how to pan all over again. 

My friend let me in on a little drag racing photographer secret. Apparently it helps to hold your breath for the duration of the race. 

There really is nothing cooler than the burnout at a drag race 

When it comes time to race, drag slicks make very little smoke off the line. 

I am always afraid of getting pelted with rocks when standing behind these cars doing burnouts. The billboards behind the start are riddled with what looks like bullet holes. 

One thing that stands out about drag racing is how you can tell how much throttle the driver is giving. Even doing this mean burnout, the driver is giving a tiny amount of gas. 

I am always intrigued by the names given to the dragsters. 

This patriotic themed funny car has to be careful not to suck any bald eagles out of the sky. 

I never realized how much adjustment the driver has to make to keep the car going strait. Sometimes they only have one wheel to steer with, because the other wheel is in the air still. 

I can't imagine what it's like to experience over 4.5 G's. It must be pretty thrilling because there are so many completive drag racers. 

Every team seems to have a different pre race routine. Some scrape off the rear tires after a burnout with gloves and some do it with some sort of scraper. 

Top Fuel driver Adam Sorokin sealed the 2010 Hot Rod Heritage Series Championship with this run. He ended up getting the fastest time of the entire event of 5.634 seconds at 252.03 mph 

Adams pit crew embraced each other in celebration after the win.

Covering the Hot Rod Reunion has opened my eyes to the drag racing world. There are so many different action shots that I want to attempt to capture at the strip. I look forward to the next big NHRA event.




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These are not Top Fuel dragsters. In the Top Fuel class, the driver sits in front of engine, and when they go, they do mid 4second passes on the 1/4 mile at roughly ~500km/h!


Sorry, I'm not 'murikan, and I don't understand drag racing at all (even if I admit it looks cool) but what's wrong with the driver's boots ? They look...well...anything but driver boots :s


daughter helmet is amaizing. remember Stalker?))


"There were no emotions. No smiles, cheers or laughs... until your team won." <- somehow I found that quote quite funny. I guess shooting drift events provide a more cheerful atmosphere.


Solid Coverage Larry!!


Dragsters are the rail cars, and funny cars are the full bodied ones :) Great shots as always!


@Jace: If you are running Nitromethane and Methanol you are a top fuel dragster. The dragsters in this future are not CURRENT but they are certainly still top fuel dragsters. Just like how a Lotus 77 will always be a an F1 car even if it is old.


Speedhunters please lay off all the drag stuff and plz focus more on circuit racing I feel like I'm watching drag on ESPN 2 or 3.

anyway Speedhunters *unbookmarked* due to too much drag


Desktop of the 25th picture please~


@ Glomb226: It is drag month. Deal with it! Lucky for you there is only 1 more week left!


Desktops please!!!!


For some of the international Speedhunters' audience, Drag racing is one of those polarizing motorsports