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Randy Johnson goes from fast pitch to fast click

February 26, 2011 | 10:16 pm


Randy Johnson, a former flame-throwing pitcher who is bound for the baseball Hall of Fame, is spending time this weekend at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona perfecting his craft as a sports photographer during the NHRA Winternationals.

Johnson, the owner of 303 victories in the majors and two no-hitters, including a perfect game, spent Saturday in a photographer's pit near the starting line as top-fuel dragsters and funny cars accelerated from zero to more than 300 mph in five seconds.

"It’s amazing," said Johnson, who was a photographer for the Daily Trojan while majoring in photojournalism at USC. "It’s adrenaline. When one of those cars goes by I want to grab a baseball and throw it through a brick wall. It’s been a pleasure to come out here and meet some of the drivers and take it all in."

The five-time Cy Young Award winner said he received a few tips from several of the veteran photographers who travel with the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

"You see this on TV and you can’t put it in perspective," Johnson said. "I had the pleasure to go out to Phoenix and shoot a NASCAR race and you don’t realize how fast those cars are and how close they race together, but this is at another level.

"You can’t put it in perspective from watching TV how powerful these cars are. I had a great time today. I met a lot of photographers. To experience this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing."

--Dan Loumena

Quotes provided by NHRA Communications.

Photo: Former major leaguer Randy Johnson gets a close-up view of the action at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona. Credit: NHRA/National Dragster