90 Days Until NASCAR 2008

November 21, 2007 | By Chris Graythen | Creative

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Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

The NASCAR season has finally come to an end after 10 months, 36 races, more than 180 days on the road and a ton of Marriott points.

We saw a lot of big story lines this year such as, where will Dale Earnhardt Jr. go when he leaves DEI, the introduction of the Car of Tomorrow and the passing of Bill France Jr. In the end, we return to where we started in the season, with the domination of Hendrick Motorsports.

Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon dominated the early part of the season, and by winning the last 4 out of 5 races and the championship, Jimmie had complete control of the end of the season. A lot of people have already started making predictions for who will win next season, but for the regular crew of photographers and editors that cover NASCAR for Getty Images, we only know one thing for certain. It’s only 90 days until the start of the 2008 NASCAR season.

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Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images
For the final race of the season we decided to do something a little different. Rusty Jarrett, our fearless leader, got permission from NASCAR to place a remote camera on the top of the stage where the championship is celebrated. Early Sunday morning, equipped with a full bag of remote gear more suited for an NBA event and a new Nikon D3 camera, we headed off to the stage to place the remote. After about 30 minutes we had the camera secured and ready to fire. Now all we had to do was wait 12 hours to fire it, and hope that not only would the camera stay in place, as the stage it was on was attached to an 18 wheel truck that had to be driven into place, but also hope that the car, the trophy and the hundreds of people would all line up properly.

Sometimes a remote doesn’t work too well. But sometimes you get something completely unexpected. The first image of Jimmie Johnson getting out of the car, spraying Gatorade in a sea of confetti and celebration is just what we were looking for. But when Johnson held up the trophy by himself at the top of the stage, we got what we were hoping for. Something unique.

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Chris Graythen/Getty Images

There are a lot of lessons to be learned when we look back at the season, but one of the biggest is that it takes teamwork to put together a successful season. On the track, it may seem like there is only one driver in the car, but there are hundreds of pit crew members, crew chiefs, mechanics that all put in to make a successful team. It’s no different for photographers. To coordinate flights, hotels, meals, let alone coverage of an event that moves from week to week, state to state, even cross country is a pretty big task. After my second full season of NASCAR, I still find it pretty amazing how many people it takes to run the sport.

The season is over, and I’m glad to have worked with a group of talented photographers both staff and stringer alike, and without the editor crew, we would probably be still sitting at the track.

90 days and counting – see you in Daytona!

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From left, Jason Smith, Todd Warshaw, Chris Graythen, Maxx Wolfson, Justin Heiman, Marc Serota, Jason Arnold , Rusty Jarrett, Robert Meggers, Jake Harris, John Harrelson, Robert Laberge

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