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DI 30 Under 30 2021: Courtney Paulshock

Courtney Paulshock might not come from a racing family nor does she have a deep racing background, but she’s quickly immersed herself in the sport as a rising star photographer. She’s spent the 2021 season covering the hugely popular Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings tour as the staff photographer for Pilgrim Studios.

[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in DI #172, the 30 Under 30 Issue, in November of 2021.]

Paulshock got her start shooting drag races after receiving an offer from Damon Steinke of E3xtreme Media to shoot an NMCA race a few years ago using his camera and settings. She’s since shot major radial races and Pro Mod events, as well as a No Prep Kings race, which she covered for two-time series champion Ryan Martin.

Paulshock’s work from the 2019 No Prep Kings race and the 2021 West Palm race put her on the radar of one of the show’s executive producers, Sam Korkis. When the No Prep Kings usual photographer, Adrian Berryhill, wasn’t able to return for the 2021 season, Korkis approached Paulshock and hired her to join the production staff. She started at the third race of the season and continued for the rest of the 15-race tour, including a grueling six-week stretch of races.

“The series has the most brutal schedule,” Paulshock says. “We all saw it on paper and then they added three more races and we all thought we were going to lose our minds. But our six-week stretch was rough because I fly in on a Thursday, I work Friday and Saturday, edit and upload on Sunday, and fly home on Monday. So that gives me two days a week, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, to do any of my schoolwork, any of my side work, to do anything else. We did that six weeks in a row. It doesn’t sound like a long time, but it’s rough.”

The 27-year-old’s work has now been featured prominently on social media, on hero cards and promotional materials for the show’s stars, and in magazines like Performance Racing Industry’s in-house publication. She’ll also shoot this year’s PRI Show as a PRI photographer.

“I think I’m still in the imposter syndrome phase of this whole ordeal,” says Paulshock, who also shoots events and handles social media for Harts Turbo. “I’m just out there taking pictures because to me, that’s just what I do. I’m just taking these photos and it’s what I see about the sport and it’s what I love about the sport. The impact that it has on other people is just so rewarding. It’s just wonderful to me that people trust me and my abilities and enjoy and support what I’m doing enough to use my stuff in print. It’s wonderful.”

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Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.