Equipped with slide film and a LOMO LC-A+ camera, I documented the sport of top Top fuel racing. Top fuel is a class of drag racing in which the cars run on a mix of nitromethane and methanol.
It’s hard to describe a top fuel race. It’s something that you need to experience first hand to appreciate the magnitude of the event. Equipped with a six pack of beer, a few rolls of slide film and a LOMO LC-A+ camera, I tried to document this high speed adventure.
Without going into the fine details, here’s a very basic description of the sport. Top fuel is a class of drag racing in which the cars run on a mix of nitromethane and methanol. Two cars compete against each other over a straight measured distance of a quarter mile (0.04 km). These cars reach speeds of 325 mph (523 km/h) in under 5 seconds. The driver with the top speed wins.
Nitro isn’t the only fuel used during the race. The event typically features other classes such as top gas, top alcohol and a pro mod class that utilizes nitrous oxide. Each class has it’s own set of rules and regulations within the sport.
Upon arriving at the dragway you immediately realize that an exhibition of pure power is underway by the deafening sound of the qualifying sessions taking place. As pair after pair of top-performance cars make their way down the track, I take notice of the spectators inserting earplugs, cotton, fingers; anything to muffle the noise. The only way to describe the sound is to picture two jet fighters flying directly over your head.
From the stands you get a bird’s eye view of everything. The crowd is full of some of the most colorful characters I’ve ever witnessed. A wonderful collection of tattoos, mullets and race fans. Almost everyone totes a cooler of ice-cold beverages and some tasty snacks.
As I make my way closer to the starting line, the sounds and smells of the cars intensify. You begin to feel the heat from the sun bearing down on the black asphalt. The ground beneath your feet shakes as these top fuel engines roar to life. These cars have about 6,000 horsepower engines that can rattle your teeth and every bone in your body as they take off toward the finish line. As smoke pours out from the tires, I try my best to get some shots of the fastest drivers on earth competing for top speed.
The racing continues on through the day and into the night. Most fans click away with their digital cameras and smart phones. As for me, I’m glad to be using an analog camera to capture the culture of this extreme sport. The light leaks, double exposure and cross processing helps add a little grit to the event.