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Mon, 17 Dec 2018, 08:38 AM

Location, Location, Location Part 1
By Steve Reyes
Photo copyright 2018 Steve Reyes

Once upon a time, a long, long, time ago, there was no internet or social media. Newspapers, radio, TV, and magazines were our social media. The sport of drag racing relied on still photographers to get and present images of drag racing to help fill seats at national and local events. Being one of those "never say die" freelance photographers, I was always looking for that eye-catching, interesting place to photograph a drag race car. Sure, I could wheel a car out of its garage or on the front lawn of the owner's home; but to me, that was a big yawn. I wanted something cool and different. The more eye-catching, the better. I hoped that my different photo shoots would put a smile on the faces of drag race fans across the USA. Most of these different photo shoots ended up in Drag Racing USA Magazine and Popular Hot Rodding Magazine. Drag Racing USA's editor/publisher, Mike Doherty, really seemed to enjoy some of my oddball locations and always made room in the current issue of the magazine.

I was very lucky to work with a great group of car owners who knew the value of getting their car and the sport of drag racing into the public spotlight and for this, I must thank each and every one of them.

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When your AA/FC has a fast food sponsor like Taco Time, it is great to get
them the ink they deserve. Owners Joe Colello and Gary Cromwell did
just that when we took their AA/FC to the local Taco Time Restaurant.
The Seattle, Washington, based chain was thrilled with the coverage I
got for their restaurant and their sponsored AA/FC. The red Vega looked
great on the cover Popular Hot Rodding's funny car issue.

Now this shoot was a bit harder to pull off. My pal, the late Jeff Tinsley
went through all the D.C. red tape and got the thirteen permits needed
to photograph Malcolm Durham's Strip Blazer AA/FC with the
United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Tinsley, Bob McClurg,
and myself shot some great images of local resident Mr. Durham and his Camaro.

With the help of the late Tom West and driver Ronnie Martin,
Robert Anderson's new top fuel dragster got photographed with
the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. West and Martin
manned the strobe lights and I worked the camera. Harry and
Maxine Lehmann's American Way streamliner was co-sponsored
by the U.S. Navy. Lehmann made a phone call and there we were
in front of U.S. Navy ships. All the photos had to be approved by the U.S. Navy.

Well, when your sponsor is Knott's Berry Farm, maybe, your car should
by photographed there. Wild Bill Shrewsbury and I made it happen on a
long-ago morning in 1975. This is the only slide that remains from that shoot.

For some reason Jack in the Box fast food places were always great
to work with. The Syndicate AA/FD was shot for a DRM USA cover at
a Los Angeles based Jack in the Box. Keeling and Clayton's California
Charger Pinto AA/FC was photographed at a Northern California
Jack in the Box. That is driver Tom Ferraro hangin' out with Jack.
I wish I still had the color from this shoot but it was lost by the
knuckleheads at Popular Hot Rodding.

The owner/driver who loved to promote the AA/FA class and the sport
of drag racing was Dave Hough. Dave and his wife Lynn were always up
for anything to promote the car, the class and the sport they loved.

While on our way to Tucson for an AA/FA event, we made a detour and
shot Nanook with Saguaro cactus. Our next wacky shoot was the following
year with the new Nanook in the snow. The cactus shoot got them a centerspread
in DRM USA, the snow shoot got them a cover on DRM USA. The AA/FA on the
street PHR cover was not a planned shoot. We were going to shoot a parachute
shot of Nanook driving down the middle of a small local Los Angeles beach city.
With all the side streets blocked off, the mayor on the sidelines watching,
the Nanook was push fired. Nanook was in the middle of the street with his engine
running and Lynn Hough was waiting for my signal so she could give the go signal to Dave.
I gave the go sign, Lynn followed suit, and Dave nailed the throttle on Nanook.
Well, the rear tires exploded in billows of white smoke and Hough came at me a bit
faster than he should. The parachute blossomed behind the car and hung in the air
before dropping to the ground. Hough came by me like it was the final round of an
AA/FA race at a local LA race track.

Now remember, this was a city street with the side streets blocked for two blocks.
After those streets, the signals were working and traffic was flowing across our main street.
Dave and Nanook were hauling butt down the street. Remember, this was a beach city
and that main street went over a hill and became the Pacific Coast highway with a
dog leg style turn. Hough and the wayward AA/FA blew through the final signal/section
before the hill. The last I saw of Nanook was as it was flying over the top of the hill.
About that time, I was having visions of Nanook going into the Pacific Ocean. Dave made
it through the intersection but then had to avoid the ocean. Fearing the worse, everyone
piled into Hough's push truck and followed the Nanook's tracks until we found the Nanook
sitting about a half mile away in a small turnout. Hough said that it was a very interesting
ride in Nanook. Everyone else thought they had a heart attack when they saw the Nanook
disappear over the top of the hill. Dave was sorry he had not attached the chute to Nanook.
We talked a local police officer into posing and he even made it onto the cover of Popular Hot Rodding.

Yes, I know this one is kind of mild compared to the Nanook shoot.
NorCal's Leo Dunn had just finished his beautiful twin engine dragster
and I wanted a contrasting background. This junkyard worked out well
for the spread in DRM USA. I had to take care of my NorCal guys!

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