Cristiano da Matta

Cristiano da Matta in 2001

I was surprised when I bought my first pit pass at the CART race in Portland at how much access you were given. You could get pretty close to the pits themselves and watch the drivers come and go and you could later go back near the trailers and see the mechanics work on the cars. It wasn’t easy to get pictures in the pits, as not only would the crew immediately surround the car, but the VIP’s in between the cars and the crowd would also swarm in. In 2001 I decided to try visiting one of the autograph sessions but to get pictures not autographs. I realized this was a mistake and never did it again, as the drivers are mostly looking down to sign things, and it was still very crowded and hard to get pictures. I did get this picture of Cristiano da Matta in his first year at Newman/Haas Racing that I thought came out OK. He’d qualify second in the race but the next year he’d win it outright (and the championship too for that matter, in dominant fashion).