Racing Commentary

Email Lew at lewboyd@coastal181.com



September is always a particularly action-packed month in racing. Open wheel and stock car championships are decided at hundreds of tracks across the country. There’s the World 100 at Eldora, the Super Nationals at Boone, and, of late, of course, the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

This year, however, the event likely to have the biggest impact on our sport took place in a quiet town in northern New England. No fans, no cameras were present at 4:45 p.m. on the Friday before Labor Day when the legal documents were signed for a new company, Traction Media LLC, to purchase the name “Speedway Illustrated” and to refresh a legacy started decades ago.

Back in 1966, a group called Circle Publishing launched a monthly magazine called Stock Car Racing. The publication grew, somewhat unevenly, tracking the development of both short track and superspeedway racing. No question that when Dr. Dick Berggren became Editor in 1977, it was like a shot of nitrous oxide.

Adrian Lopez in New York subsequently purchased the title and oversaw it in the 1980s. Berggren and his long-term team, including names like Karl Fredrickson, Joyce Standridge, and Bones Bourcier, provided amazing journalism, putting a huge exclamation point on their efforts with the startup of a parallel monthly magazine,
Open Wheel

In the ’90s, the titles were owned by Bob Guccione and the girls at Penthouse. Their racing monthlies grew and grew, but the foundation beneath Penthouse crumbled, and EMAP, what had been Petersen Publishing, bought the racing assets, including Stock Car Racing. For some strange reason, they elected not to take the editorial team with them.

Commercially stranded, Dr. Dick hustled out to the streets and eventually persuaded Down East Publishing in Maine to take on the team and launch Speedway Illustrated magazine. Once again, Berggren, Fredrickson, et al. shone brightly, producing an artistic, literary and financial success.

The only problem was that, once again, they did not actually own it. When the folks in Maine found it in their interest to sell a couple of years back, the title was transferred to a group in Kansas City known as Formula 5 Motorsports. Right off the trailer, that relationship was not fast, and Formula 5 ceased publication earlier this year.

A couple of Fridays ago, it was Karl Fredrickson who was in that lawyers’ office, signing the documents with the full support and guidance of his mentor, Dr. Dick. Karl had spent countless hours raising investment money, structuring the deal, and attracting a blue chip Board of Directors. Most significantly and most excitingly, this time Speedway Illustrated will be owned and managed by the incredible journalism team itself.
Speedway Illustrated has been reborn and its future looks bright.

Karl, Dick, Bones Bourcier, Rob Sneddon, J.A. Ackley, Joyce Standridge, Dan Anderson, Mike Adaskaveg, and others are already banging on the first issue. Coastal 181 will, as always, be close by, sharing office space, ideas, stories, and a 500-lap friendship.

As you can imagine, there is a Herculean amount of work to do. But this time it comes direct from the heart. Keep an eye on www.speedwayillustrated.com for updated information.

No question it’s a rough time out there for books, magazines, and newspapers in general, but we know of no one who does not want to see “racing’s Bible” back in print.

We are psyched.

© 2010 Lew Boyd, Coastal 181

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.: Previous Tearoffs :.

8/23/10 - An Ode to Senior Supers

8/6/10 - Adrian and the Deep Water

7/20/10 - Holdout in Yuppieville

7/7/10 - The Wins are Gustin

6/16/10 - Racin' Kid, Racin' Dad

5/28/10 - The Monk and Matty D.

5/15/10 - Bluebird

4/27/10 - Catching Up With Steve Arpin

4/11/10 - The Song of the Fifties

3/22/10 - Davey!

3/8/10 - Restart!

2/21/10 - Miracles of the Rock

2/8/10 - Roger The Remarkable

1/21/10 -  Shane's Sensational '78

12/28/09 - The Flying Finn and The All American Boy

12/12-09 - Hello Wall

11/29/09 - Once More for Ernie

11/15/09 - Ernie's Excellent Chase

11/1/09 - In The Zone

10/19/09 - Rough Week in the Midwest

10/1/09 - Common Starts, Uncommon Comebacks

9/4/09 - South Dakota Chris

8/15/09 - Facial Exposure

7/31/09 - Dying in the Pits

7/9/09 - Barn Rat's Last Race

6/18/09 - Catching Up With Brad Doty

5/20/09 - Big Boys in The Attic  - rare photos of legends

5/6/09 - Back Up In The Attic - more rare photos

4/22/09 - The Son of Hard Luck - accessible racing
experience for the handicapped

4/3/09 - Racin' In The Attic - Gordon Ross photo collection

3/18/09 - About That Mike Spaulding

3/3/09 - Dick Berggren's First Win - (you had to be there!)

2/11/09 - Peter at the Park - Peter Fiandaca at Riverside Park

1/30/09 - Steve - Steve Arpin

1/4/09 - Racer Speak -cool quotations

12/16/08 - Wimble Power, Will Power - Bill Wimble

11/24/08 - Remembering Chuck Amati - by Joyce Standridge

11/11/08 - That Rick Ferkel

10/24/08 - Beyond Bionic - Bentley Warren

10/6/08 - Fifty Second Classic - Skip and Lois Matczak

9/20/08 - Joey's Dad - Tom Logano

9/1/08 - One Night at The Park - the death of Les Ley

8/20/08 - Transitional Technology - early supermodifieds

8/6/08 - Wallace on Wednesdays - dirt trackin’ Kenny

7/19/08 - Star(ter) of the Show - importance of good flaggers

7/7/08 - McUnderdog - Eddie MacDonald

6/18/08 - The Night Buzz Was Worried - Buzz Rose

6/5/08 - John Richards - Boomer Role Model

5/20/08 - The Spirit of a Racer - the late Al Powell

5/1/08 - Bobby's Blues - Bobby Santos III

4/15/08 - Thinking About Rene Charland

3/26/08 - Carl and Corey - Carl Edwards and Corey Dripps

3/4/08 - A Cool Track with Cool Racers - West Liberty, Iowa

2/14/08 - Doug Wolfgang

1/25/08 - Frankie Schneider

1/7/08 - When Drivers Can't See - cockpit vision

12/21/07 - When Starters Couldn't See - flagstand vision

12/1/07 - Ride Along with Erica Santos - in-car camera midget win

11/15/07 - Tough Drivers

11/1/07 - Cockpit Safety

10/15/07 - That First Race

10/1/07 - Racing Nicknames

9/15/07 - Too Many Officials

9/1/07 - The Look of a Real Driver

8/15/07 - Being Dale Junior

8/1/07 - Armond Holley

7/15/07  -  Red Farmer

© 2010 Lew Boyd, Coastal 181