Yes, once again it’s NASCAR Sunday out here at Infineon Raceway. Most of us remember it as Sears Point.
The first year I covered any type of racing for the Press Democrat was 1987. I remember the old Sears Point Raceway with a rickety old wood grandstand and a media center built from plywood that would sway alarmingly in SP’s infamous winds. I covered the first NASCAR event here.
On the very first practice lap on turn 2, during the 1989 inaugural Winston Cup here in Sonoma, Dale Earnhardt locked it up and did a complete 360. I recall getting to the track that Sunday race day took nearly three hours.
Since then, I’ve shot every NASCAR cup event here at the Point. Witnessed a thousand spin-outs. Sprained an ankle while shooting in the old carousel in 1990.
Hurled in 1994 during a particularly hot afternoon during qualifying.
Had my Hot Pass pulled by a Winston Cup official for arguing about where I could shoot in 1991, only to get it back when he dropped it. I don’t think he knew he did, but I never saw that guy again. I spent the night at the 50 acre paddock-I cant remember the year-and documented the antics of fans late at night, waking-up to some incredible morning light.
I have a thousand memories of coverage out here. I get assigned too shoot the event year after year.
No problem. It’s just a given during NASCAR week, Porter’s going to be absent from the newsroom roll call.
So, here’s to Sunday.
I’m gonna hurl again though, if one more person asks me if I can shoot an ant on the moon with that lens.
Post Script- 8:41 PM June 26. How many times was I asked the above question? Almost a dozen. Did I meet Ralph today? Nope. But did get some decent pictures anyway.