PUSH “REFRESH” FOR
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
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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