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Through the Lens – Images from the Artistic Eye of Marc Gewertz

For the past quarter century, Marc Gewertz has had the enviable opportunity to stand on the starting line (and in the pits, and at the top end) at drag races nationwide as a photographer for the National Hot Rod Association. It has been a perfect fit for this lifelong gearhead and drag race fan who grew up around drag strips and has a natural eye for creating dynamic photos.

Even in his off time, Marc can typically be found at car shows, races, and other hot rod gatherings, camera in hand, capturing incredible imagery. Many photographers can chronicle events with snapshots; Marc is one of the rare few who creates compelling images that go beyond the obvious. He has cultivated the talent to see things others don’t and the ability to seek out overlooked perspectives, resulting in photos that have purposeful vision and artistic appeal.


Beyond the pages of NHRA’s National Dragster, it’s common to see Marc’s photos in Church, the hot rod art magazine produced by his brother, Coby, as well as in many other automotive publications and websites. Goodguys has been fortunate to share Marc’s photography in a variety of ways through the years, most recently using his coverage of the 2020 March Meet in the June issue of the Goodguys Gazette. We thought it would be cool to share a gallery of a few of Marc’s favorites, with captions and commentary from him. From capturing critical moments in racing, to finding unique perspectives of hot rods and customs, we think you’ll agree he has an uncommon knack for delivering the visual goods.

Photo captions by Marc Gewertz

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Randy Walls burned his ’69 Nova-bodied funny car to the ground at the 2007 California Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield. Fortunately, Walls escaped uninjured.

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Mike Smith’s Model A coupe was photographed in a field in Bakersfield after he finished racing it down the quarter-mile at Dragfest in 2008.

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Sara Francello flag starts a pair of prewar hot rods on the Jersey shore during the 2014 Race of Gentlemen.

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Brian Everett’s ’40 Merc, “Slither,” which was built by Oz Kustoms. This was photographed in 2009 and the reflection is real, not photoshopped.

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Brian Bass enters the sand in his ’32 Ford roadster at the 2016 The Race of Gentlemen West in Pismo Beach, California.

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The Rat Trap nitro-burning Fuel Altered (with Brian Hope at the wheel) does a burnout under the lights at the 2016 California Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield.

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A hot rod drives on a dirt road early in the morning at the inaugural RPM Nationals in 2017. The event is held at Santa Margarita Ranch on the central coast of California.

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This pan-blur photo of chopped and flamed Merc was shot in Long Beach, California in 2010.

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James Day does a burnout in Dale Pulde’s War Eagle Nostalgia Funny Car at the 2012 March Meet in Bakersfield.

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The night before the 2016 Race of Gentlemen West in Pismo Beach, about a hundred cars gathered in the campground above the beach. Bruce Woodward had his ’32 Ford roadster on display, complete with vintage props reminiscent of an old garage scene.

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The Mura Brothers ’41 Willys pickup, known as the “World’s Wildest Willys,” won America’s Best Competition Car at the 1965 Oakland Roadster Show (with a different paint job) and then vanished. The car was found in 2006, restored, and brought to the 2010 Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona. It’s owned by Kevin Doolittle.

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This black-and-white photo captures the essence of what the 2019 Santa Barbara Drags was all about.

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Photos by Marc Gewertz

Editor, Goodguys Gazette

Damon Lee began snapping photos at car shows when he was 10, tagging along with his father to events throughout the Midwest. He has combined his passion for cars and knack for writing and imagery into a 20-year career in the automotive aftermarket, writing for titles like Super Chevy and Rod & Custom and, more recently, working for respected industry leaders Speedway Motors and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association.

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