DI.COM BLOG: Van Abernethy’s “On The Road”

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Southern Outlaw Tour + Paradise Dragway 3-16-13 348

I’m almost always alone in my drag racing travels, but this past weekend my 22 year old step-daughter, Miranda Sebastian,accompanied me on my journey. Miranda is in college and is a tremendously talented portrait photographer and her unique way of capturing people, both in candid settings or the studio never ceases to amaze her mother and me.

Just recently she told me about a college project in her photojournalism class, in which she was instructed to go out and basically write a compelling story “in pictures” about a day in the life of someone doing what they do for fun or work. Well, Miranda had the idea of going on the road with yours truly, beginning with photographing me driving down the road in the Drag Illustrated Sprinter and shooting pics of any stops we made along the way…stops that included an antique shop, a frozen yogurt dive, a Chinese restaurant and, of course, a few late-night Waffle Houses along the way as we journeyed to our weekend destinations.

The first track we visited was Montgomery Motorsports Park, where the season-opening Southern Outlaw Tour was taking place. Miranda accompanied me to the starting line where she mainly photographed me photographing race cars. She loved the noise and up-close experience of Pro Modified drag racing. She also took photos of the memorable people we met in Montgomery.

From Alabama we traveled to Paradise Dragway in Calhoun, GA, a cool little track I first visited in 2011 and was featured in one of my “On the Road” columns that I write monthly for Drag Illustrated. It was great to visit the Timms family again, who are the life-long owners of this neat track built by the late Otto Timms. While at Paradise Dragway Miranda took more photos of me for her college project and also used her incredible portrait skills to help me do a photo shoot of Johnny Watkins and his beautiful 1969 Hemi Roadrunner for an upcoming story. The photos for this feature are tremendous since Miranda helped me do the shoot!

On one hand I wish she could go with me every single weekend, but then I’m reminded of how scared she is of bugs, her obsession with antique shops…and I won’t even mention how difficult it is to get her up and moving in the mornings…ok, so I did mention it! For now at least I guess I’ll just keep riding the open roads alone…sorry kido. LOL!




  1. Paul Grant

    March 27, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    I love what you do Van, big fan of your photography, hopefully you’ll be able to post Miranda’s project at some point.


  2. Van Abernethy

    March 28, 2013 at 2:05 AM

    Hey man, so good to hear from you! Thanks for the very kind post, sir. Your photography is tremendous and I’m a huge fan of your work! Miranda’s “On the Road” project will actually be on display locally at her portfolio showing next month at the Hickory Museum of Art…I’ll try to take some snap shots of it. She’s a hoot to travel with, and I did exaggerate the difficulty with getting her up in the mornings, although her love of antique shops (and fear of bugs) is legendary. LOL!


  3. Jason Cole

    March 29, 2013 at 2:20 AM

    Always nice to see you at Paradise ! And I must agree with you , her portrait work is amazing !
    Oh…don’t travel alone, swing by and pick me up !!! haha

  4. Van Abernethy

    March 30, 2013 at 2:39 AM

    Jason my man! Great seeing you again, buddy, and always enjoy the Paradise Dragway experience. It’s one of the most unforgettable places I’ve ever been, and I’ve been to a lot of places! Paradise has an unmistakable charm and personality. Lee Timms is a hoot too. LOL! I always enjoy keeping up with Paradise on Facebook with the pictures you post. I’m glad Miranda got to meet you…and now she follows your work as well. She does have some mad skills with her portrait work…always amazing us! Hope she can catch some breaks along the way

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