As a veteran photographer, David Allio instinctively looks ahead to capture the legendary people and that breathtaking moment in motor sports. The national award-winning photo journalist has been focusing on the challenging subject of racing from fender-banging stock cars to 300-mph dragsters for over 50 years. Allio has provided images as the lead photographer to ten major race tracks, a greater number of racing series, countless publications, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and is chief photographer and special events visual media manager for Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Allio officially began his career as a professional stock car racing photographer in 1972. He learned how to become a racing photographer by filming auto racing at a time when many of today’s legends were honing their skills on the same legendary short tracks across the nation. His car and candid photography archives contain images of all of the top 50 NASCAR Cup Series winners, including many from their early days before becoming champions and legends in speed sports.
As a sport photographer for hire, Allio built a professional reputation and expanded his auto racing photography techniques from experience at over 800 different race tracks to include stock cars, sprint cars, and motorcycles in short track oval racing; sports cars and motorcycles on road courses; quarter-mile drag racing; off-road racing; arena motorcycles and monster trucks; and stock cars and open wheel cars on superspeedways around the world. He was a NASCAR contract photographer for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, and the RJR sports marketing photographer for NASCAR Winston West, NASCAR Winston Racing Series, NASCAR Winston Modified Tour, AMA Camel Supercross, AMA Camel Pro, USHRA Camel Mud and Monster Series, IHRA and NHRA Winston Drag Racing, and the IMSA Camel GT Series.
Allio’s racing photographs have appeared in every major motor sports and mainstream sports publication in the world. Images from his archives frequently have been published in books. Some of those history books have required revision because the text did not match the historical evidence recorded in his photography.
Since 1978, this recognized media member of both Nikon and Canon Professional Services has also conducted workshops and provided tutorials on motor sport photography and car photography methodology. In a career that extends into a fifth decade, this winner of multiple American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) awards for motor sports photographic excellence has competition proven credentials as one of the best motorcycle and automobile photographers in the United States and beyond. He has also been a member of the Eastern Motorsports Press Association (EMPA) and the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA).
In 2010, Allio was honored with a special showing of his motor sports photography at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. All of the photographs selected for the presentation were created during the 2009 auto racing season using Nikon digital cameras and lenses, and included images from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, South Boston Speedway, Tri-County Motor Speedway, Hickory Motor Speedway, Gresham Motorsports Park, and O’Reilly Raceway Park. Racing sanctions represented in the exhibition included: NASCAR, NHRA, USAC, UARA, ARCA, and Formula Drift.
Born in the Commonwealth of Virginia, USA, David Allio is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Communications and Visual Art. He earned a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art from the Vermont College of Fine Art. David is a frequent public speaker, as well as featured instructor and guest lecturer at a variety of photographic workshops, seminars, and conventions.
Photo credits: Ron Lewis, LVMS Staff, Gary Laster, Dave Kommel, and David Griffin.