While making arrangements for his weekend of shooting at the NHRA Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo. On Thursday afternoon, Richard Shute, the owner of Auto Imagery, drag racing’s most well known photo agency, suffered a heart attack. Shute collapsed at the top end of the track, mere feet from several members of the NHRA Safety Safari as well as Danny Gracia of the NHRA Tech Department. Gracia’s quick thinking (he immediately got Shute to swallow an aspirin and then called for an ambulance) probably prevented a major tragedy.
Shute was transported to St. Anthony Hospital in nearby Golden where he rested comfortably overnight. However, while being examined by his doctors on Friday morning he suffered a second heart incident and was immediately moved to the hospital’s operating theater. There the doctors discovered one completely blocked heart artery, along with several other problems. A stent was inserted into the blocked artery, while additional medical procedures will apparently be put off until Shute returns to his Southern California home.
By Friday afternoon Shute was awake and alert, and was accepting calls from his friends at the track.
Auto Imagery photos have previously appeared on CompetitionPlus.com as well as in a wide-ranging series of national advertisements featuring drag racing. Along with our own Roger Richards, Shute represents the epitome of drag racing photographic excellence. While he had every intention of returning to the track as early as Saturday morning, cooler heads have apparently convinced him to return home and take some time off. However, we expect to see him back at the track as early as the Seattle race next weekend.
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