Photo Editor "Clicking" at Hardee's Shootout
Fluharty, a 39-year-old resident of Concord, N.C., competes in the Thunder Roadster division of the Hardee¿s Summer Shootout on Tuesday nights at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.
Driving race cars is Fluharty¿s hobby, but photographing them is his occupation. The soft-spoken native of Fairmont, Va., has worked as the photo editor for NASCAR Scene and NASCAR Illustrated, two of motorsports¿ most widely circulated publications, for more than 10 years.
Fluharty transitioned from taking pictures of race cars to driving them in 1996 when he began competing in the street stock division at Concord Motorsports Park. However, his love for the sport began much earlier when he attended dirt track events near his hometown.
¿My love for racing started when I was about 5 years old,¿ Fluharty explained. ¿My hero was Richard Petty and my early goal was to be a NASCAR Cup driver.¿
By the time he was 14 years old, Fluharty had developed a passion for photography. He then sought to combine his two primary interests and established a goal of becoming a photographer on NASCAR¿s premier racing circuit.
¿I then set my goal to be a NASCAR Cup photographer before Richard Petty retired, and I was able to accomplish that,¿ Fluharty said.
He began working as a freelance motorsports photographer in 1990 and the following year became a full-time lab assistant for NASCAR Scene and NASCAR Illustrated. He was promoted to the position of photo editor in 1992, the same year his hero called it a career.
Fluharty doesn¿t take as many pictures as he once did. Instead, he concentrates on managing department personnel, assigning travel schedules and editing the photos his staff takes each week at NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series events.
Although Fluharty does not travel the NASCAR circuit like he once did, he still finds it tough to juggle his duties as photo editor and race car driver.
¿It¿s getting pretty difficult,¿ noted Fluharty, who competes in as many Thunder Roadster events as possible across the Carolinas. ¿I don¿t have much of a crew. It¿s just me and my wife and she helps me a ton.¿
As a Hardee¿s Summer Shootout rookie last season, Fluharty recorded five top-10 finishes en route to a seventh-place finish in the final standings. He also placed fifth in 600 Racing¿s nomadic King of the Ovals Thunder Roadster series last year.
In addition to the Thunder Roadsters, the 11th annual Hardee¿s Summer Shootout features three classes of Bandolero racing and three divisions of Legends Cars along with a novelty event. Nearly 200 race cars are expected to jam the pit area each Tuesday night through Aug. 17.
Admission is just $5 for adults. Children 6-12 are admitted for $3 and kids under 6 are free. Tickets are available in advance at the speedway ticket office and at Gates 4 and 5 the night of the event. Parking is free. Contact the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS for information or to purchase tickets.
Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action at 5:25. Feature racing begins at 7:30 p.m. and is scheduled to conclude by 10:15.