Sweet Spots

When shooting motorsports at any given track, there are usually certain obstacles that you have to overcome. Fences, trees, poles etc. Once you have nullified these obstacle, your task is only half done. Just finding a clear spot to shoot from does not guarantee you great shots. You have to look at the background to see what else is there to distract from what you are trying to shoot. People, more fences, and poles are some of the things you want to try to minimize or blur so as not to take the viewers eye away from the main subject.

Wether you have credentials or are sooting from the fence, you first want to find a spot with only trees, hills, or open space as a background. If not, then a spot with the fewest number of distracting objects. Many of the photographers I know, or have met, have had the pleasure of shooting at many more track than I have. I try to add new ones when I can, so maybe one day I can add more to my list. Of the ones I have shot at here are my picks of what I consider some of the sweet spots from those tracks. Each location will be marked with a “C” for credentials needed to access the spot, or “NC” for no credentials needed to access the spot.

Road America

Road America offers some of the best photo opportunities for both professional and casual photographers of any track I have been to.

Turn 6 (C-NC)

This is most everybody’s favorite. With the ability to shoot from both sides, you can get more than one angle, as well as panning shots between turn 6 and 7.

Turn 5 (C-NC)

Bottom of the hill, top of the hill, drivers left or right. These are some of the locations you can shoot one of the most action packed corners at the track.

Turn 13 (C-NC)

Known as Billy Mitchell Bend, this is one of my all time favorites. It offers one of the few places left where I can get a truly unobstructed shot. The only caveat is you will need credentials to get it. But you can get very clean shots without credentials from drivers right.

Mid Ohio

While having more fencing than some tracks I have been to, there are still enough places for casual shooters to come away with compelling shots.

Turn 5 (C)

Due to the fencing to get good shots from what is the top of the Esses you have to have access to the provided photo holes.

Turn 11 (C)

Probably my favorite because I love to catch cars as they crest the hill. If it’s raining the shots from here are exceptional.

Turn 2 (C)

The Keyhole offers one of the best and most unique shots anywhere. Not is it a great late day shot with a clean background, the silos in the background are actually about 5 miles away from the track.

Watkins Glen

Turn 4 (C-NC)

The Esses are at one of the drastic elevation changes at this track, and make for some great shots as opposed to cars just on a flat track. This is a favorite starting for many professionals. There is always a lot of activity here in the first few laps of the race. The area in general offers multiple shooting angles.

Turn 7 (C-NC)

The exit of the “Bus Stop” officially known as the inner loop. It is here that you will see many cars on only two wheels as they hit the curbing on exit.

Turn 14 (C-NC)

Here you are not actually shooting turn 14 unless you are shooting them going away from you. You are shooting down the hill at 13, and as they climb the hill toward you headed to 14.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Let me first say that I love shooting at Indy, but it makes it impossible to do one of things I outlined at the beginning of this article. It is not possible to eliminate background distractions. Unless you shoot from above or very tight, there will be a fence or grandstands in your shot. With that said, some of my favorite photos from 2021 are from here.

Turn 2 (C-NC)

Turn 2 gives you the the ability to shoot 1, 2, and 3 going away from you. The short distance between 1 and 2 is almost like a mini “S” turn.

Turn 10 (C)

This is a bit deceiving as you shoot turns 8 and 9 while standing between 9 and 10.

Turn 13 (C-NC)

I like this spot for the variety of different shots you can get. Head on approaching 13, front as they come through the turn, and going away if you shoot from drivers right as they exit the turn. Also as a bonus pit entrance is right there allowing you to get closeups of the drivers as they enter pit lane.

Road Atlanta

Of all the tracks on this list, I have the least amount of experience at Road Atlanta having only shot here once. But with multiple days of racing, and a ten hour main race, you do get plenty time trackside.

Turn 2 (C-NC)

This is one of my favorite types of turns. It is a climbing left hander, with the cars cresting the hill at the exit. The background is just trees.

Turn 3 (C)

This turn offers more than one type of shot. Cars normally hit the inside curb at the apex of the causing them to get two wheels off the ground. The short chute between 3 and 4 allows for close up head on shots of the cars. In the late afternoon the sun shines into the cockpit allowing you to get shots of the drivers faces.

Turn 10A-10B (C-NC)

There is always a lot of action at this quick left and right-hander. Many passing attempts with some not working out so well. The exit of 10B, and the short strait before the bridge is a great spot for night shots.


I will try to expand the number of tracks I have shot at over the coming years to come. There are many on my bucket list as must visits. This article only contains my experiences, and the type of shot I am trying to achieve. Every one has different taste, and this is not meant to say you must shoot here, or shoot this type of photo. You will notice I did not mention long straits where you are likely to do slow shutter speed panning. This is on purpose as every track I have visited has easily accessible spots where you can do this type of shooting. there are many out there who have done this longer, and been to many more tracks than I have.

Also the techniques mentioned at the beginning applies whether you are shooting at a major speedway, or a local short track. I will be covering local tracks at a later date.


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