Ten Hours in the Sun
By James Morgan
Candies & Hughes versus Kenny Bernstein as observed from the 1,000 foot mark by James Morgan
Ten hours in the sun is a long day. The skin on my face is so tight it hurts to smile. Check the film on my camera -- two shots left. Should be enough to catch the fuel finals. Funny how as the sun sets on a warm
day, the temperature can drop so fast. A little chill runs down my spine. Maybe it's just the sunburn getting the best of me. I hear a familiar whine punctuated by the cackle of a pair of nitro burners as the final round comes to life.
From the 1,000-foot mark, the burnouts look like small storm clouds building as the sinking sun contrasts the bright and shadows. Slowly the pair of Funnies backs into their tracks. Just as slowly they inch forward into the beams, small dots to us located down track. I hoist the camera to my face and pre focus on a spot just in front of me. What the hell, it's the final, lets see if we can grab 'em as they go by.
Turning back to the line, I center the cars up. WHAM! In an instant, my eyes see the throttles fly open, followed milliseconds later by the distant roar as the cars move down the track. I try to keep the cars centered as they scream towards my position, the audio quickly catching up with the visual sensations. Mid track and the stands start to vibrate under
my feet and the swing of my camera lens accelerates. The sound has become almost unbearable!
The vibrations fill the air as well as the ground. Not only is my ear absorbing the noise but also my bones are being rattled by it as I swing the lens even faster to follow the machines as they rip by me. The shutter click is inconsequential when measured against the torrent of sound, smells, and feelings that make up this millisecond of time. POOF! Quiet, unearthly quiet as it's over just as quick as it started. Well, one more pass and it's time to head out.
Ten hours is a long day in the sun, but I wouldn't miss it for the world.