Richmond, VA (February 2, 2011)Press Release—Richmond International Raceway photographer John Harrelson was named the 2010 Howard O’Reilly Photographer of the Year in a vote by the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA). The honor was announced at an awards ceremony at the NMPA meetings in Charlotte, N.C., where Harrelson was presented with a trophy.
There are four categories used to qualify a photographer for the honor: Race Action, Portrait/Personality, Feature and Crash Action. Points are awarded based on where a photographer finishes in each category. Harrelson, a native of Richmond, Va. placed first in Race Action for a shot of Denny Hamlin’s pit crew speeding through a stop, second in Portrait/Personality for a shot of “The King” Richard Petty deep in thought, second in Feature for a shot of track crews chasing a cat on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway and third in Crash Action for a shot of Paul Menard and Dennis Setzer wrecking at Talladega Superspeedway.
“It’s pretty exciting to have our track photographer named the 2010 NMPA Photographer of the Year,” said track president Doug Fritz. “John does a great job and deserves this honor.”
Harrelson, who has been the official photographer of Richmond International Raceway since 1985, has also worked with Motorsports Images and Archives and Getty Images.
“This award is such an honor,” said Harrelson as he accepted his trophy in Charlotte, NC. “Since I was a kid in the grandstands this is all I’ve wanted to do. To win photographer of the year and know my name is going to be on the trophy at the Darlington Stock Car Museum means the world. I’m doing what I love and being honored for it at the same time.”
In addition to Harrelson’s honor, track photographer Geoff Burke was also awarded a plaque for placing first in the Open category with a photo of Kyle Busch celebrating a win in Victory Lane.
Along with business partner Scott K. Brown, Harrelson just built a new state-of-the-art photography studio in Ashland, VA where the two can showcase their company Pixel Factory and Harrelson Photography Inc.