Thursday, July 09, 2015

The Big One

"Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, is involved in an on-track incident following the checkered flag during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida."

Nothing can prepare anyone for the big one.

A late night, or should say morning, the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola in Daytona started about four hours late following a rain delay.

Just before midnight, fighting to stay awake due to the time of morning, the race began. Yet it wasn't until the last lap that woke the entire venue.

As Dale Earnhardt Jr., took the checkered flag I slowed my shutter speed to get more motion in the cars, tires - then instincts took over.

When Earnhardt Jr., speed across the finish line, I caught a view of sparks and panned backwards. As I caught up with the pack of stock cars speeding near 200mph, I did my best to pick up the machine of Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, as his car flipped over directly into the catch fence.

From more than 190mph to zero, it was a horrific, terrifying and frightening split second incident.

I continued to shoot through the sequence as his car crashed onto the front stretch, engine block breaking away from the front end and the race car eventually landing on his roof. Silence is all I heard as he was then hit by the number two car - before crews from other teams rushed to his aide.

These moments were tense. No one was sure what to expect from such a surreal incidnet, but the family support of the sport really touched a lot of people as safety was the number one concern for everyone in Daytona - competition or not.

It was gratifying to know no one, fans or drivers, were seriously injured. It shows how far the sport has come in terms of keeping everyone involved safe.

As always, a huge shout out to our team at Getty Images. A total team effort, everyone pulled their weight on an extremely late day, night and morning - especially following the aforementioned. I couldn't be more proud to be apart of the team.


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