and Don's Story
Roy and myself were both freshman students at the "Art
Center College of Design" and young and energetic.
Art Center taught us to look for more creative angles and
push the creative envelope past the standard stuff of the
time. We experimented with new lenses, motor driven sequences,
and intentional slow shutter speeds for a blurred almost painting
like quality for some of our photographs.
Roy and I were classmates and friends with other students
like Larry Wood (Hot Wheels Designer), Ken Eberts (chair of
Auto Fine artist Guild, Pebble Beach) John "Waldo"
Glaspey (auto illustrator and Bob Davids, designer of Breedlove's
land speed cars, as well as Nye Frank's "Pulsator."
In the early sixties when Roy and myself were photographing
at Lions, most photographers were shooting the standard angles
they had been doing for years.
We created some friendly competition for the Peterson boys
which turned out to be good for the industry. "Drag News"
ran an article calling Roy the new "Dean" of drag
majority of photographers (including Peterson) were shooting
mostly black and white with a little color for covers and
centerfolds which was the norm for those early years. Roy
and I shot a lot of color because we could process it for
free at the lab at Art Center.
Establishing a close trust with C.J. (Pappy) Hart, track manager,
allowed us to seek out new track locations that enabled more
interesting photographs to be made for Lions promotion.
One of Roy's favorite spots was standing on a short post about
30 feet from the starting line giving an over the blower view
of the driver. A subtle change that made for some exciting
images. (See Jungle Classic.)
The gag shot of Prudhome and McEwen in the weeds done for
"Drag News" (photo
available) was a fun sample of outside the box photography.
It was innovative for the time and still holds to this day.
Another example of Robinson's creative genius and sense of
Toward the end of our tenure (1965) we began to see the beginning
of big sponsor money and how it would change drag racing.
I photographed the "Indy" Nationals in 67 and 68
and the World Finals in 1969. The only race after that was
Seattle International in 1991 when I had Budweiser for a client
and they wanted some shots of Kenny and the "Bud King".
When TV first got involved with drag racing it was also the
beginning of drag racing being legitimized and Wally Parks
should be congratulated for making that happen. TV also provided
the money to make the sport safer and better.
It was a thrill to be involved during this period of drag
racing. Roy, and myself have many fond memories and will never
forget our many days and nights at Lions Drag Strip.
Life long friend Roy recently gifted me his entire archive
of drag racing photography. Roy is a very successful CEO and
didn't have time to be involved with making prints etc. Roy's
generosity allows me to share his photographic genius with
drag race fans everywhere.
Young photographers note: The majority of the black and white
photographs were developed and printed in a two car garage
with a dirt floor,cold water only and no heat.
Roy and I would arrive at the garage around eleven pm after
photographing the final at Lion's. We would process and print
until about two am Sunday morning.
Sunday we would give C.J. first choice for Lions promotion
and then we were free to sell the others to Drag News and
This routine was followed for every race at Lion's from 1961
Roy's lab today is 37,000 sq .ft. filled with state of the
art technology for printing giant photo murals for point of
purchase displays for national retail chains.
With very minimal beginnings and the education received at
Art Center, we were able to have successful professional careers
in the advertising industry.
We hope you enjoy our photographic memories of a chunk of
drag racing history.
The best experience for myself is the continuing life long
friendship with Roy and his family.