Drag Racing Story of the Day!
Top Twenty Drag Racing
Photographers... All Time
By Tim Marshall
When I first made my all time Top Ten photographers it was because I
saw a small list made by model designer Tom West, who also is a good
Drag Racing Photog in his own right, and I was pleased to be included.
Only thing I did not like was the way he described me. Anyway, thanks
Mr. West for including me with a bunch of great shooters. Now here's my
As a former Photo Editor for Hot Rod Magazine, Super Stock Magazine
(twice), Photo Editor for 4 Wheel and Off Road, and Petersen's Vans and
Pick-ups, Street Legal Imports, and Auto Buff among others. I fell very
qualified to make this list. For the past 36 years I have devoted my
entire life to this sport, including a 19-year stint for NHRA as their
Division 7 Photographer. Drag Racing, as flat plain been my entire life!
It was extremely tough to narrow down this list, as there have been
so many great artists with their cameras.
(1) Steve Reyes, California/Florida because this man thought me more
about photography than any magazine or class I ever took. He is the
complete photographer. Action,' how to', entire events, and feature
articles. Steve mastered shooting Ice Hockey, which is without a doubt
the most difficult form of photography that I've ever attempted. Reyes
was not some rich kid that had everything handed to him, he earned the
title of first "Hall of Fame" linesman...
(2) Bob Hardee, the late San Diego Bus Driver that rarely made it out
of San Diego County shooting the majority of his photos at 'backlite'
Carlsbad and Ramona. He likeable Bob Hardee was the first ever in Drag
Racing to utilize "duel flash system" and his stuff was
(3) Diamond Jim Kelly, Plano, Texas…. Although 'Kelly' as he was
known did most of his photography in Southern California. Kelly is still
in the automotive business but no longer shoots photos. Too bad. The man
was a natural with a camera.
(4) Dave Milcarek, NJ mainly shoots in the East Coast, around
Englishtown NJ and Maple Grove PA, but this guy mastered color
photography, especially at night. Dave and his partner Steve Bell, still
are active, and have a photo booth at Englishtown. David did make it to
the West Coast a couple of times though.
(5) Mark Gewertz, Redondo Beach, CA. This guy may be the youngest
photog on this list but boy can he shoot. Yes he is a staffer for NHRA,
National Dragster, but whenever you see outstanding angles used its
probably Marks fine work. Loads of talent. His fine work can be seen in
both Popular Hot Rodding and Drag Racer Magazine on occasion.
(6) Jon Asher, Chicago, Cagle Canyon, CA, and now New Mexico. It's
not really fair, because Jon can not only shoot a camera as well as
anyone in the business, but he is a fantastic writer too. Asher after a
long time Car Craft Magazine Editor, is now heading Harris Publishing
brand new Drag Racing Action. He is the complete deal. Mr. Harris must
have really checked things closely when he hired Asher. This man even
once drove a Funny Car on fire!
(7) Mark Hovsepian, Boston Mass, Probably the most underrated guy
with a camera in his hands today. Check out his stuff on Header Flames,
which he is now the Editor of. He and his wonderful wife Dawn Mazi
Hovsepian give it 110%…Was one of the first to switch to digital,
along with Les Welch, and Dave Kommel, but Mark is still holding on to a
couple of film bodies….
(8) Ron Lewis, San Diego, CA…This is the guy who first had one of
the longest and most expensive lens to hit the racer track. He bought
his first $9000 lens with a doctor, who only used it to go on African
Safaris. Ron has mastered the long lens photography, and rightfully has
the majority of the major accounts in Drag Racing today. I'll admit that
I'm one of Ron's ' back up and proud of it.
(9) Roger Richards, NC, This is the newest Drag Racing photographer
to hit the scene, but Roger has been a photojournalist for quite some
time. He has mastered the art of digital photography, and recently
received the Photographer of the Year Award. Richards helps edit and
Roger must not like flying because he drives to the majority of his
(10) Leslie Lovett, Arkansas, CA…The late great Leslie Lovett was
the guy at NHRA/National Dragster for what seems like eternity. The
south's loss was drag racing's gain, when Wally Parks hired Lovett, away
from Tulsa Int'l Raceway. Lovett literally controlled the NHRA photo
area. What Leslie said was written in blood!
(11) Gil Rebilas, NJ, Phoenix, AZ. Mainly known for his "crash n
Burn" photography, but Gil can handle a camera quite well. He has
made his "bread n butter" from doing instant overnight 11x 14
and 16 x20 color print, and his incredible knack to shoot
"fireballs"…His son Mark is also very good with the camera.
As Dave Wallace, the very BEST editor of all time would say…."He's
got the eye".
(12) Barry Wiggins CA, I know he wasn't the most popular photographer
among his peers because he was a hustler! This guy made photos turn into
art. His early Funny Car stuff from Orange County was the best!
I saw Barry Wiggins sitting in the grandstands at the Pomona opener
this year. He didn't have his trademark Pentax 6 x 7 but I'll bet he got
some good pix with his Nikon.
(13) Slatts, Chicago, Ill, Don't even know his whole name but his pan
shots in the sixties were flat outstanding. Recently had a First Drag
Race story on www.dragracingonline.com
(14) Richard Shute (Auto Imaginary) Carlsbad, CA. A very creative
photographer that started a partnership with Dave Kommel several years
ago and they have done quite well. Shute still shoots the local Southern
California races, but partner Kommel does most of the roadwork. Both are
(15) Gary Nastase, Fontana, CA.. Another one of the young guns,
Nastase has really picked it up a notch with his great work for Action
Toys. He also has his share of the big contracts out there today. Gary
has mastered that /Nikon system.
(16) Richard Brady, Springfield, MO, This guy has been around since
day one working for NHRA/National Dragster. Brady basically has to shoot
the stock ND material, because that is what he is contracted to do. I've
since his scenic stuff, Dynamite! Just ask Richard to see his scenic
(17) Don Gillespie, Caliph, NC. Don Gillespie is one hell of a
photographer! He can do it all, people shots, action, or features.
Presently Gillespie is putting together a documentary on Lions Drag
Strip where her grew up. I really miss his quick wit and humor since he
got married and moved to NC.
(18) Andy Wilsheer, England/McClurg's house. Andy is not only a
great photographer of cars and women; he is an accomplished writer, as
he and Bob McClurg have put together a couple of hardback books.
Basically their work together has been on Fords and Mustangs in
particular, but the tall lanky Englishmen is not only a great
photographer, and writer, but also a joy just to spend time with. At
least he's honest about everything.
(19) Bob McClurg, N Hollywood, CA. He was one of the first great
photographers then went on to Edit books like Mustang Illustrated, etc,
plus the entire hardback book he and Andy Wilsheer put out. Best known
for his Wild Willie shot! Bob can still be found at most of the
nostalgia memorabilia shows, but his next move might be to Hawaii.
(20) Dave Kommel, San Dimas, CA, Dave has really come into his own
the past two years. Every since he turned to Nikon digital, he has
really become an outstanding photographer. No one in this business works
harder than Dave Kommel. Auto Imagery didn't become the big success that
it has because David didn't hustle!
There are so many others that deserve recognition, so I'm just going
to list them as I see them, Joel Gelfand of West Covina, CA, Jim
"VIP" Kelso Tucson, AZ, Francis Butler, Maryland, Norman Blake
(master of B & W) NY city, Randy Anderson out of Dallas Texas, Ron
Lahr CA, Alaska, Nevada, AZ (coming out of retirement after 30+ years.),
Les Welch, Valencia, CA, Rich Welch (his color blind brother!),
Ray-Mars, Wisc, Mark Bruderle, Wisc, Mike Garland, Cordova, Ill, L &
M Photos (Larry Maxwell), John Ewald, Brea, CA, Jere Alhadeff, OC, CA,
Jeff Burk, O'Fallon MO, Bob Johnson, Lancaster, CA, Paul Schmitz, Quartz
Hill, CA, Charles Strutt, Pasadena, CA, the late Harvey "Mert"
Miller, Pasadena, CA, Robert Briggs, CA, Bruce Biegler, Canada, Nick
Licata, OC, CA, Ralph Guldahl, Ca, Bob Hesser, Indiana, Phil Bellomy,
LA, CA, Steve Bell, NJ, Harold Hoch, PA, Rich & Pat Enos, Stockton,
CA, James Drew, CA, Tom West, CA, Teresa Long, CA, Bill Crites, Ca, Dawn
Mazi, Boston, MASS, Rich Carlson, Everett, Wash., Flyin Phil Elliott,
CA/Wash., Jim Phillipson, /nor cal, J C Taylor, ?Nor Cal, Jim
Bernasconi, NOR Cal. Mike Mitchell, Arcadia, CA, Bryan Ellis of Fallon,
Nevada, Brian Lohnes, of Boise, Idaho, Mike Basso, Lake Forest, CA, Steve
Gruenwald, West Palm Beach, FA, Forrest Bond, Texas Eric P Brooks,
Norfolk, VA., Chan Bush, LA, CA., Dave & Sky Wallace, Nor Cal, John Shanks,
LB, CA, Jerry Foss (NHRA), Richard Wong NHRA, Rod Short, East coast,
Scott Kileen, Thousand Oaks, CA, Doug Marion, Thousand Oaks, CA, Bo
Bertilson, Sweden/CA, the late Floyd Turner, of Hammond Indiana, and
last but not least Alan Earman of long Beach, CA. Sorry for I know I've
left someone very important to this great sport off the list. All I can
say is I hope that I rate right up there with this great group of