Photographer Tyler Barrick said that the image of Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott he took is one of his more “iconic images of the era”.
The image of Elliott and Johnson, labeled by some as “Passing of the Torch” is one of the most famous images of the 2020 season. It gained significance because Johnson was set to retire from full-time racing after the Championship 4 race at Phoenix Raceway and his teammate Elliott won his first championship.
The photographer who took it said that it took him 2-3 days to understand the significance of the picture he had taken. He said:
“I’ll be honest, it probably took me about a good two to three days once I got home to realize this was something of an iconic image. By Friday of that week after Phoenix, it was starting to settle in that this was quite possibly — and I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, but it’s probably one of the more iconic images of the era that’s been taken.
“So to me, it’s significant because it’s the beginning of a new era. You have arguably one of the greatest drivers of the modern era congratulating presumably one of the next generation of that, passing the torch.”
While Barrick said that he was unaware that people were using the phrase ‘passing of the torch’, he did believe that the iconic handshake reflects an “ushering in of a new era”.
“But it’s just an iconic handshake or finger slap that will hopefully show Chase’s success in the future.
“It’s nice to be able to help drivers celebrate championships after they win, and I feel like this was a very poignant image just to celebrate the whole weekend and the day with Seven-Time retiring and Chase winning. Just the ushering in of a new era.”
Johnson retired as one of the most prolific drivers in NASCAR’s modern history. Will Chase Elliot be able to repeat his former teammate’s success?