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

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!

This story was originally published on March 24, 2013. Drag Illustrated

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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.