NASCAR Smith’s 350 in Vegas

Words by Matt Willis

Last year around this time, we found ourselves in Las Vegas with the intent of covering the 5th round of the Global Rallycross series at the speedway. As it turned out, we had the opportunity to shoot the NASCAR Truck Series’ race earlier in the day as well. It was a new and different experience for us, being the first NASCAR event we had ever shot and our first time shooting at LVMS.

So, on the last weekend of September, we made another late night trip to Las Vegas to see what the 2013 truck race would have to offer, as well as just to venture around Vegas.

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After just a few hours of sleep, we made our way to the speedway in the morning for credentialing. Unlike the Cup series, the trucks will often practice, qualify and race in just one or two days. Here, qualifying runs were just getting started. The goal is to post the fastest lap for better placement on the starting grid.

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There are no second chances in qualifying, and only two laps are granted to each driver. The car setup must be tailored to run the fastest two laps, with just enough fuel to get by and tape over the cooling ducts to limit drag.

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As qualifying got started, we went around the track for a bit and then headed back to Vegas for a while.

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Upon our return, the grandstands were starting to fill up and the cars were staged in the infield for driver introductions and pre-race ceremonies.

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At the drop of the green flag, the grid climbs to speeds of over 170 mph as drivers try to avoid trouble and find an aerodynamic “groove” around the race track.

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A couple drivers had technical difficulties early on, and were forced to abandon the race for maintenance.

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The #3 car of Ty Dillon looked very strong early in the race…

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Spin-outs off of turn 4 accounted for a majority of the race’s caution periods…

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…and caution periods open opportunities for pit stops. Here, in a matter of seconds, each car is fitted with new tires, filled up with fuel, and may receive alignment/suspension adjustments depending on the driver’s feedback.

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After pit stops, the field regroups and prepares to begin racing again.

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Here a car receives a track bar adjustment and additional fuel.

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Here, in a small portion of this image, you can see a lug nut getting struck by the rear tire next to spilled race fuel. We notice the details…haha…

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As night fell, the race began to near the end…

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…and teams became more determined.

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NASCAR heads often say races are won and lost in the pits. Seconds here can cost a driver the race…

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It seemed like each time the race got going, another caution flag would wave…

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When the chaos was all settled, the man at the front was Timothy Peters (#17).

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Congrats to Timothy Peters on winning this year’s Smith’s 350 and getting his second CWTS win of the season!

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After the race, we drove in a herd of traffic back to Las Vegas Blvd. for a late dinner and some shooting on the strip.

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You can see the rest of our September Vegas trip featured on our sister site, Photomonogatari.

Thanks for reading!

This entry was posted by fullcoupe.

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