FINEART HISTORY PHOTOGRAPHY EXCLUSIVE BY TOM WEST

Get your individualize created display print based on negatives from photographer Tom West, take starting in 1966. These authentic archival art prints are produced on different ways. Original photo print on aluminium backing. Original photo print under acrylic glas and direct print on metal with car varnish. The effect on these frameless prints is almost three-dimensional. Easily mounts to the wall using the pre-attached mounts. Shipped in a special transport box. Click ART and see more. Or get directly in contact with the Speedseekers team for more information about the sizes. alex@speedseekers.de

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THE FINEART PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK
ON AMERICAN CARCULTURE
BY ALEXANDRA LIER

Speedseekers is organized in five main chapters: History, Garage, Speed, Landspeed, and Style & Sound. Breathtaking archival photographs of legendary racers and race cars set the stage, a stunning suite of portraits of the protagonists in their private garages give the book a rare glimpse behind the scenes. Contemporary images of today’s racers and current record-holders with their wheels and their fans lend the whole phenomenon a riveting and authentic air. But it doesn’t stop there. The whole world of the supporting cast is represented, Customizers, painters and stripers, model builders, illustrators and tattoo artists, musicians and designers fill out this amazing collection of all things speedy.

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MARCH MEET 2015

The March Meet held at Famoso Raceway in the middle of Orange Orchards has seen rivalries, friendships and winning streaks evolve for 56 years. After being purchased in 1950 by a group of drag racing pioneers called “The Smokers”, the former US Army training airbase facility is still one of the meccas in today’s nostalgia drag racing. Be it for the huge swap meet, the huge car show or the on-track action. This year the track witnessed Tony Bartone continuing his winning streak. He’s unbeaten since the 2013 season. The strong numbers he ran were just incredibly quick and consistent. He made his way to the finish running a string of 5.50 elapsed times, sealing the event with a final round win over Adam Sorokin’s canopied dragster. Sorokin was out the gates first, but banged the blower around the 800 feet mark, giving Bartone the chance to drive around him with a jaw dropping 5.531 at 270.81 mph to Sorokin’s 5.791 at 192.58 mph. In Funny Car, the son of drag racing legend Gary Densham, Steven, managed to win from the very last qualifying spot defeating Kris Krabills with a 5.64 at 249 mph to 5.87 at 242 mph. So far for the numbers from the finals of the nitro classes. Speaking of numbers: The number of 72 Nitro cars was as impressive as the 37 cones, which had to be replaced during the 4 days. Speaking of an exciting event! The 56th edition of the March Meet was also my first time shooting directly at the finish line. Standing next to a living legend with countless years of experience in quarter mile photography, Dave Kommel. I’ve been shooting drag racing at several events now but mainly at the start or the shutdown area, which is supposed to be safer, since the cars are already slowed down by the parachutes. The race experience way down the track at the shutdown area is quite different to the one standing at the starting line. There you can watch the cars approaching the burnout box, warming the tires, hearing the little “eak” from the tires when the burnout is finished. The commandos from the teams, the rev of the engines and the takeoff, as well as the cheers from the crowds. At the top-end, you hear just nothing! From a distance, you recognize that the cars have already left. About half a second later the sound of them reaches your ears and suddenly you see the cars out of nowhere appear in your viewfinder. Engulfed in heat waves, the funny cars come roaring towards you. The butterflies wide open and the rear tires distorted by the centrifugal forces. The blower singes in a high-pitched tone and the parachutes deploy and tangle around. The cars slow down significantly and sometimes start to jump up and down with the rear ends. To get the right shots is kind of hard because you have so much downtime and then in a fraction of a second, you have to be ready and pan the camera so fast that you never know what you get in the end. All in all, it’s been a fantastic 4 days with awesome racing and wonderful people and another great drag racing experience. We’ll be back soon!

Text and photos by David Beitler

TEAM MASTER OF DESASTER

The sounds of some vibrating noise are tackling my ears, I try to ignore it and get some more sleep... but it doesn’t seem to work properly. A glimpse at my watch tells me it’s 6 o’ clock, or: “just way too early” ... The mattress that I’m lying on feels different. It takes me a second or two to remember where I am. “You’re in the cabin of a race team hauler in the pits of Shakespeare County Raceway in Stratford-upon-Avon, England” I tell myself. Outside I hear René and Michael, the crew guys from the team I’m travelling with, talking about the next steps in servicing the car. It’s cold outside as I’m stepping out of my cave and into the tent. The smell of coffee mixed with the smell of oil, methanol and some kind of metallic smell comes to my nose. “Coffee?” Asks René, already finished with breakfast and ready to pull the spark plugs and valve covers from the Hemi of the ‘41 Willy’s Pro Modified coupe with the name: „The Master of Disaster“. “Gute Mosche!” comes from a tall guy inside the trailer. Jürgen, owner and driver of “The Master” is already up, drinking his coffee with more sugar than coffee. He’s been around the sport since the early 90’s, starting with a street legal Chevy Pick Up and worked his way up to the Pro Modified class. Not on a highly professional level, but more for the fun of it. “Weren’t you the guy using both lanes driving on two wheels last year?”, a fan asks into the tent. “You see, they already know me here” Jürgen replies. “The track couldn’t hold all the power the engine provided and it dragged me to the middle line. As I corrected, my ass wanted to overhaul me and the next thing I know is I was upside down and thinking don’t land on the carbon injector, just DON’T!”. Well, that’s the racer and the businessman in Jürgen. “Glad you’re ok, good to see you here again, BUT don’t do this again, you hear me!?” replied the fan laughing. “I’m not a mechanic, but if you tell me which screw to turn, I’ll do my best to help you out”, I told the guys. So, after we had rebuilt the engine and warmed it up, our entire tent was filled with methanol fumes. My ears burn and my throat feels scratchy. I can’t resist the urge to cough. It’s loud and it’s smelly but it makes me happy almost like Nitro … “Your turn in 10 minutes”, yells the official looking at his clipboard. “You got the starter?” asks René and tells me where to drive the towing vehicle when we reach the starting line. Slowly, we are approaching the starting lanes watching the other cars running down the track. Next up: a Corvette with a huge blown engine. After a smoky burnout it’s time fort he run. The wheels are slowly rolling into the light beams. Pre-stage, stage and green means GO! The Vette takes off hard, but suddenly takes a hard left turn; the crew members raise their arms to the sky screaming words of desperation, as the car crashes hard into the wall. A silent relief erupting into applause comes from the crowd in the grandstands. Everybody feels bad for the team but thankful that the female driver walked away unharmed. “Hopefully the track has got enough traction for our car” I was thinking. After a 20 minute cleanup and track check, the starter gives the signal to fire up the next pair of cars. Back to normal. Only 4 more pairs until our first outing since the crash last year. Jürgen is already sweating under his helmet while sitting in the mean looking black car in the harsh sunlight. The guys seem to get more nervous as we’re getting ready to run. “Don’t get in my lane when I overtake you!” shouts Lee Gallimore, the guy who is lined up against us with a twinkle in his eye in the direction of Jürgen. “Well, fingers crossed” I thought to myself... With a puff of smoke from the pipes, the engine of the Master comes to life, sounding strong and healthy. The “Red Mist“ Altered already burned out and we’re left behind. In a rush, I park the towing vehicles in the service lane, jumping out with my camera, position myself beside the guardrail. René guides Jürgen into the lane, showing him the released safety pins from the parachutes. A flash of yellow and GREEN! WrOOOAM Lee is on his game, and already off as “The Master” spins his tires. Jürgen pedals the car and is on and off the gas a couple of times. The big fat Hoosier tires don’t seem to find any grip at all. Suddenly, at around 120 feet, the tail begins to wiggle and the car crosses lanes. From the start, it looks as if he almost saved the car, when it suddenly touches the guardrail in the other lane. “F... not again!” is my first thought as I’m rushing with the guys in the tow vehicle to the other end of the track. The fire crew is already at the scene and Jürgen is already out and obviously ok. “It’s just the body and the header, we’ll fix it. If not, I’m going to race without a hood... Well, that’s racing... ” Jürgen quickly summarizes. We’ve got the front rebuild and raced a couple of runs at the same event on the next day, but the traction wasn’t with us. Mr. Shakespeare himself couldn’t have written the drama better, which evolved from a loose rear axle spring, which we found out later. After being welded to the chassis again, the Master was running a couple of 7,90 runs at the Dragstalgia event in Santa Pod and showed everybody that it not only lives up to its name, but also is capable of running strong and straight. After two events travelling with the team, I’m glad to have a whole new insight to the sport I love. Thanks to Jürgen, Michael and René for letting me be a part of the crew. On to the next disaster, fingers crossed …

Text and photos by David Beitler

European Nostalgia Drag Racing

If you never went to a nostalgia drag racing event in Europe like the “Dragstalgia" event at Santa Pod or the Nostalgia Nationals at Shakespeare County Raceway, well you have to see it. I mean „normal“ modern drag racing is quite awesome, ground shaking, unbelievably loud and fast, as well as accessible for the fans unlike any other type of motorsport. Everything is professional. Engine parts get replaced after each run and the big car race teams, travelling with several rigs, are multi-million dollar operations. You might have seen some nostalgia exhibition cars in pits or in a museum. But to watch these cars racing on the track, giving it all they’ve got is a whole different story. You might not see mind-blowing speeds and the quickest run in the history of quarter-mile racing, but you get history and old stories, really enthusiastic and dedicated people, who are racing just for the love of drag racing. Instead of ultra-aerodynamic bodies where you can’t distinguish which car brand it should resemble, you have gorgeous form rich curved bodies with beautiful paintjobs and colorful names like “Time Warp”, “Chaos”, “The Apache”, “Nightmare”, “The Havoc”, “Mental Breakdown” or “The Headhunter” just to mention a few. You’ll see all kinds of different vehicles at the track. From cars running blown hemis with alcohol or nitro to small four cylinder motors. The Gassers are really fun to watch, where everyone tries to lower his car, these things got the front end of the car amped up so high, that you can see the suspension and the motor block under the front bumper. The front wheels looked misplaced, but they had them rearranged to gain a longer wheelbase for an improved directional stability. These cars looked, well “funny” and that’s what later evolved into the Funny Car category with the flip bodies and tube chassis we still see today. Basically being a Funny Car without the body, the wild and wacky Fuel Altereds seem to go anywhere, but straight. These are some of the craziest things on 4 wheels you’ll ever see trying to go down the strip. The variation is sheer endless, be it the front engine dragster, the Fuel Coupes, the nitro burning Altereds, shiny muscle cars or rusty Rat Rods. Nostalgia events have it all. Be prepared for nitro cackle from the pipes and wild rides down the quarter mile, wheel stands and fire burnouts as well as good old stories and great people! So be there whether it’s the big event, “Dragstalgia at Santa Pod or the smaller, more intimate and personal nostalgia event in Shakespeare County: I encourage you to go there! You can’t call yourself a drag racing fan if you haven’t witnessed the roots of it. See you at the track.

Text and photos by David Beitler

NITROLYMPX 2014

Über 40.000 Fans feierten zum 29. Mal ein dröhnendes Highspeed-Festival der Extraklasse vom 8. -10. August auf der Rico Anthes Quartermile in Hockenheim. Wie immer waren unter den diesmal 300 angereisten Teilnehmern viele Top Teams aus ganz Europa vertreten, um wichtige FIA Meisterschaftspunkte zu sammeln oder um ihre persönliche Bestzeiten zu unterbieten. Auf einer als „schwierig“ zu bezeichneten Strecke schaffte Thomas Nataas sich mit einer Zeit von 4,51 Sekunden an die Spitze des 8er Top Fuel Felds zu setzen. Bei den Top Methanol Dragstern gelang Peter Schöfer eine kleine Sensation, er fuhr nach einer 2 jährigen Auszeit mit einer starken 5,56er Zeit auf den zweiten Platz direkt hinter Dennis Habermann und seiner 5,5 et. Bruder Timo startete mit einer 5,57er Zeit vom dritten Platz aus. Johan Lindberg sicherte sich im orange-weißen Chevy Monte Carlo Methanol Funny Car die Top Qualifier Position mit einer 5,94 bei 404,2 km/h. Jürgen Nagel, der einzige deutsche Vertreter der Klasse, hatte wie viele andere Probleme ein Setup für die Strecke zu finden und konnte lediglich ein 7,04 Zeit für sich verbuchen. In der Klasse Pro Modified schaffte der Schwede Mats Eriksson nach einem verkorksten Saisonstart in Santa Pod, dessen Narben immer noch am Ford Crown Victoria zu sehen waren, mit einer 6,3er Zeit die Poleposition zu ergattern. Die legendäre Night Show am Samstag Abend bot wieder einen gelungenen Mix aus Burnout Show, wunderschönen US Cars, Nostalgia Dragster Shows und feuerspeienden Top Fuel und Jet Dragstern die das Motodrom in seinen Grundfesten erzittern ließen. Diese Show aus Motorsport, show and shine, Musik, Lightshow, Qualm, Motorenlärm und Nitro ist sicher einmalig in Deutschland, wenn nicht gar weltweit! Am Renntag, Sonntag dann, sicherte sich, einmal mehr, der schnelle Schwede Mikael Kagered die Top Fuel Krone in dem mit Spannung erwarteten Finale gegen den 19 jährigen Top Fuel Rookie Noah Stutz aus der Schweiz flog er mit einer 4,8er Zeit als erster über die Ziellinie, sein Motor eingehüllt in einen Feuerball. Im Top Methanol Funny Car Finale hatten beide Kontrahenten mit massiven Traktionsproblemen zu kämpfen, am Ende behielt Johan Lindberg die Nase vorn und Leif Andreasson schaffte es mit qualmenden Slicks auf den zweiten Rang. Peter Schöfer erreichte im Top Methanol Dragster gegen den Malteser Chris Polidano einen respektablen zweiten Platz. Meisterschaftsführender und Eventtitelverteidiger Mattias Wulcan bezwang David Vegter im Pro Modified Finale. Vegter kam ins Schleudern und wurde aufgrund eines Spurwechsels disqualifiziert. In der Königsklasse der Zweiräder nahm Altmeister Ian King nicht nur den Sieg, sondern mit 379 km/h einen neuen europäischen Geschwindigkeitsrekord mit nach England. Wir warten gespannt auf das 30 jährige Jubiläum der Nitrolympx, für das sicher einige PS Starke Überraschungen geplant sind. Infos gibt’s auf www.nitrolympx.de

Text and photos by David Beitler

DEMON DROME

Demon Drome "The Wall of death" at Finnowfurt Race 61. This Wall of Death was constructed in 1927 in the USA.

RACE 61 3D

I am working with a 3 D camera i build myself.

 

SPEEDSEEKERS SHOP

Look on the Speedseekers Shop for shirts and fun stuff. It´s all about Speed, Style and Sound.

SPEEDSEEKERS ART

Next Art Show at Bloom Cologne end of October 2010. Speedseekers is with Strychnin Gallery.

THE GOGOGOS MUSICVIDEO

See the Speedseekers Film and send it arround if you like. Its fast and the music is by the Gogogos.
 

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD MEDIA PDF

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