My data for the second practice run came in a bit late because just after the run, Chicagoland Head Photographer Steve Snoddy escorted me to the drop gates reserved for photographers with the red vests for the start of the ARCA race. Only 25 photographers receive the honor of sporting a red vest throughout the weekend. Previously, I had white vest access, aka strictly pit access. The drop gates are cut outs along the fence that encircles the track, which explains why management is so restrictive with who can shoot at these prime locations. Needless to say, Steve is an accessible Chicagoland hot shot who is eager to share his love of racing and his experience.
While I was out at the drop gates, Honda President of Performance Development Robert Clarke commented on the performance of ethanol fuel during the 2007 Indy season. Robert explained that the use of ethanol ultimately led to the series’ decision to eliminate the IndyCar lean switch, a switch that previously allowed the driver to tell the engine to lean the fuel mixture to conserve fuel. Robert also announced that the Indy Racing League will continue to run on 100% ethanol fuel next year. He said the next step is for the league to work on further improving ethanol fuel consumption.