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2021: A Year Like I'd Never Imagine

By: Pete MacDonald - December 31, 2021

23,000+ Images Taken

96.16 Miles Walked Around Race Tracks

48 Races Taken In

21 Different Tracks

9 Different States

2021 started off in a way I never really thought would ever happen scoring wins in two categories at EMPA in addition to Best InShow and Portfolio of the Year. That still doesn’t seem real.

Due to unforeseen circumstances I got to spend most of my Saturday nights this year back at my home track of Wall Stadium and I don’t think I would trade it for anything. After going there for over 30+ years, there’s still something about the place.

I gained some friends, lost some friends, found out who was really a friend. Beat covid and even took my first planned Saturday off from the races ever to go see KISS in Atlantic City, I’m still not 100% sure if it counts or not because everything ended up raining out anyway.

If I had to pin down just one racing highlight of the year it would have been shooting the inaugural SRX race at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Just to be around and mingle with drivers that I grew up watching on tv on Sundays then see them duke it out on a ½ mile short track on a Saturday night in front of a sold out grandstand was purely a sight to see.

To top it all off, ‘one of our guys’ in Doug Coby showed them how it was done and how good some of these short trackers are across America.

The roar of the crowd when he took the checkered flag could be heard over the cars, I had never seen anything like that at a short track in my life. I had never seen the place until the day before and if there was a diagram of how to run a short track in America, Stafford would be the model to go off of.

The Lucas Oil Late Model race at Hagerstown had to be a close second watching T-Mac steal one from Ricky Thornton Jr. on the last lap.

Returning to the Cup Series at Dover was cool also after a few years away. For a while I thought I’d never get back there.

Seeing East Bay for the first time was badass too. I really hope I can get back there before it disappears.

This year I started taking my writing to a whole new level. I have enjoyed the hell out of it. It’s a challenge like no other and it gets me closer to the sport I’m the most passionate about. Never in my wildest dreams would I be able to interview guys I idolized as a kid in Frank Cozze, Brett Hearn and Tim McCreadie, I even got to interview two of the drivers that I consider some of the best on the planet in this seasons NASCAR Cup champion Kyle Larson and future champion Christopher Bell.

There were nights this year when pulling double duty doing both writing and shooting got tiresome towards the end of the night, but it kept me focused on the job at hand and still gave me that little bit of a rush.

I have the coolest job in the world and I have to pinch myself daily to remind myself. I've learned over the last couple of years that if you surround yourself with the right people anything can be accomplished and I’m surrounded by the best people possible. I'm very thankful for the photo clients that keep me doing what I love and the new ones that I have taken on.

I can’t wait to get to Allentown next weekend, EMPA the weekend after that, then Motorsports and Atlantic City before everything gets back going again.

Thanks to everyone for their support, see you all soon!

2021 Best of Gallery


Finally, I Got To Shoot Late Models In 2020

By: Pete MacDonald - November 5, 2020

I know I haven’t blogged in a while. Sorry for that, just been busy with life. This past Saturday I took a ride down to the Georgetown Speedway with Dave Pratt and Steve Barrick. I really needed to get out of the house following the passing away of my Grandfather last Thursday. Thank you to all that reached out with their condolences and those who stopped me at Georgetown to tell me that they were sorry, that really means so much to me, you guys have no idea.

Another reason I was looking forward to Saturday was it was the first time in 2020 that I had a chance to shoot Super Late Models. These are hands down my favorite type of race car to shoot anymore, the technology in those machines are absolutely insane. Georgetown offered up a pretty good payout for the Late Models and was rewarded with a 23 car field. Which for an unsanctioned show is pretty good anymore. 40 Modifieds also entered the program for the Short Track Super Series South Modifieds.

I love shooting at Georgetown during the daylight hours, it really allows you to get creative if you want to look for spots, plus there REALLY aren’t a lot of restrictions, after all it is Delaware. In the Modified event, Rick Laubach really looked fast until Stewart Friesen got him for the lead, Laubach didn’t let him get away though, he stayed with him for a while before getting a flat. Matt Sheppard came through the field like something I haven’t seen in a long time after he got a flat as well eventually taking home the win.

The Late Model race was phenomenal, no BS, just all out racing for 40 laps with Rick Eckert and Max Blair putting on an all out show with Eckert charging back to take the lead and the win.

After the Late Model race it was hammer down back to New Jersey. The show was ran off pretty good, I was home and in bed by 1am Sunday morning. Off to Bridgeport this weekend. Hope to see some of you there!




What Memorial Day Really Means:

By: Pete MacDonald - May 26, 2020

I love my country, I love our flag, I love everything that it symbolizes, I love our freedoms.

This past Monday (Memorial Day) I woke up a bit earlier than I wanted to. I had seen something on Facebook earlier on in the week about not putting American Flags out at the Veterans Cemetery's across the state. So I hopped in the car and took the 35 minute or so drive over to the Arneytown Veterans Cemetery in Wrightstown, NJ.

I had never been to a Veterans Cemetery before, let alone on Memorial Day so I wasn't really sure what to expect. Upon arrival, before even pulling in, I started getting emotional seeing thousands upon thousands American Flags (Yes, thanks to a local VFW every one of the estimated 47,000 graves had an American Flag at it).

Once parked, I sat in the car and observed for a couple of minutes, upon stopping I had noticed an elderly woman with flowers in her hand searching for I'm assuming her husband's site, which she had found moments later. With this being Memorial Day, there was a massive amount of people, as there should have been. Whether it was an entire family gathering, or someone stopping by to pay their respects to a loved one, there was a lot of people on the grounds.

After getting out of the car, I sat on a bench for a few minutes trying to figure out what I wanted to do I finally grabbed my backpack and started to walk around. I had an idea of what I wanted to shoot. As I made my way down a row, reading the names as I walked along, some passing away a long time ago, some passing away recently. I noticed a man who was carrying a set of bag pipes, so I had an inkling to follow him to see what he was about to do. Sure enough, he stopped at what I am guessing to be his father or grandfather's grave and start playing taps. You really don't know what Memorial Day means until you hear the sound of taps playing in a Veterans cemetery. At this point I was completely overcome with emotion to where I started crying. What a beautiful sight it was, everyone in the place had stopped to listen and watch. Upon completion, a round of applause came out from everybody.

I went back to what I wanted to do, I fisheye'd a row of flags, used my macro 1.8 on another row of flags. I saw another woman leaving flowers on a grave I captured that. I didn't want to get in anyone's way while there. I was trying to keep a low profile.

As I started back to the car out of the corner of my eye, I saw what I thought was a soldier in his camouflage walk up to a grave and kneel. I turned out to be correct. I didn't want to get too close and ruin his moment, I got as close as I could comfortably. Seeing someone who is now enlisted to fight for our country, kneeling before someone who served before him gave me chills and full of emotion. Out of the tens of thousands of images I have shot throughout the years, the image of that soldier moved me more than any of them ever have.

I think if you get a few minutes next Memorial Day you REALLY need to visit your local Veterans cemetery. It will 100% change your outlook about Memorial Day weekend.


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Another Flyover & Why Is There A NASCAR Hauler On The Garden State Parkway?

By: Pete MacDonald - May 13, 2020

My favorite thing to shoot is fighter jets, hands down. There isn’t anything like raw power rattling everything flying over you at who knows what speed. May 12th was another COVID-19 flyover courtesy of the 177th Fighter Wing who is stationed at the Atlantic City airport.

As soon as it was announced and the map put out I studied the it pretty hard, probably more than I would a racetrack map prior to a race and tried to find a place where I can shoot the beginning and then "jet" down to Atlantic City to shoot the end of the flyover.

I found a place on the water near Mayetta with a clear view of the Atlantic City skyline. With the flyover set to begin around 11:30AM, I left my house in Forked River around 10:30 so that I have time to make sure my settings were right. I sat around for a few minutes to shoot some birds and then the big birds appeared. 4 F-16's and an KN-135.

As soon as I shot them heading north, then jumped in the car and “jetted” to Atlantic City where I parked on top of the hospital parking garage about 35 minutes after I got in the car shaving 10 minutes off of the "suggested time" from my GPS.

Once I got parked, and unpacked everything again I was surprised that there were only a few people on the roof with me and no one else looking to shoot it. After a few minutes a number of doctors and nurses came out on to the roof to try to catch a glimpse of the flyover which ended up being my favorite part of the shoot (I'll get to that in a minute). As the planes came in over the Atlantic City skyline they had to be only 500 feet or so from the top of the parking garage ,the rumble was something else as they went over.

Back to my favorite part of the flyover. As the planes were just about past me, out of the corner of my eye I spotted those same doctors, nurses and hospital workers jumping and cheering as the planes flew over, with everything those folks have seen lately, it was nice to see them excited about something, even if it were for a few seconds. Afterward I thought to myself that I should have fisheye'd the flyover with the planes in the background and the hospital workers in the foreground, but it is what it is. Something in the back of my head for next time.

As I started to pack everything back up, I thought to myself, I'm not in a hurry let me leave one body and one lens out, just in case they come back around. Sure enough a few minutes later a pair of F-16's screamed around the very top of the hotel tower at Caesar's (what a view that must have been) and back toward the ocean. A second pair would come back around a few minutes after that.

I very much want to get back down to the AC Airport one day soon to watch them practice and to get as much practice as I can for me.

As I was leaving Atlantic City it was around lunch time, so I stopped at a Royal Farms real quick to grab something. As I finished up in there, I figured to myself that I would just hop on the Garden State Parkway and that there was a rest area just a few miles up the road.

Upon pulling into the rest area I looked up ahead and saw something that looked like a familiar sight, but something that I hadn't seen in a long time, something I definitely had to double take. It was the Halmar Friesen Racing No. 52 NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series hauler, just sitting there. I mean.. this is New Jersey, NASCAR teams never use our highways to get anywhere. I thought to myself, maybe they're heading to Halmar headquarters in New York? After a couple of minutes I thought to myself, why don't I just text Stew and ask him. Come to find out that because of the pandemic, HFR was making a massive food delivery to a number of food banks up the eastern seaboard from Virginia to New York. What a great thing Stew and Chris Larsen from Halmar are doing in such an important time of need.

Hopefully you enjoyed reading, as I'm going to try to keep this up when I have free time. Hopefully soon we're able to get back to racing again and I'm able to get back to work. Until next time...


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