Turning The Page

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Many things are going away in these times of economic strife. Things that have been near and dear to us all, many of which we felt would be around forever. Lots of them will never be able to be replaced or substituted for — it’s our loss as a society.

In the racing world, these changes and losses are mounting as well. Without a doubt, there will be more to come. Let’s look at just one such casualty.

Effective after the November 2008 issue, STOCK CAR RACING Magazine will no longer be a stand-alone publication, but will combine with CIRCLE TRACK Magazine in its December 2008 edition. That last November 2008 mag is currently out on newsstands.

This is a sad commentary, indeed. SCR has been around since 1966. Their first issue was May 1966. It went through a few ownership changes, but essentially maintained its recognizable look and content. As a reference periodical, it supplied the essential feature-type articles and, in its earlier days, box scores and schedules. They also used to put out some pretty powerful personality profiles, and their general editorial range was very entertaining.

Of particular recollection for me was that SCR was a real magazine on glossy paper, which covered the whole realm of racing. There would always be a good chance that any given regular reader could find a regional article or race coverage near and dear to them. That’s a big thing I liked about SCR — they came down to earth, and didn’t act “magazine.”

Sure, there were always the weekly racing trade papers that had short race reports from locales across the nation, but to have the track around the corner from your home prominently displayed in a monthly magazine, now that was class!

Upon first discovering the existence of SCR in 1969, I couldn’t believe I was seeing all of the race cars of the day in full color on smartly-designed covers and professionally represented via inside stories. I subscribed immediately.

As I’ve indicated, SCR went to the true roots of racing. They had astute columnists who captured the at-the-track feel and knew how to represent that to their reading audience. For the first 20-25 years of its life, I’m guessing, SCR didn’t procure columnists strictly because of who they were or because of their celebrity. Of course, they had guest columnists and a cool “Race to Remember” page, but it wasn’t so commercial. The ad counts were not over-powering like so many printed pieces today (although understandably so).

One of my hero journalists was Bob Myers. He was the primary point writer for the NASCAR Cup Series, and did so with elegance. I learned from everything I ever read of Bob’s. So, as you can imagine, I was skittish about the proposal on the table in 1973 for me to share Southern coverage with Bob as the point writer for NASCAR Late Model Sportsman and Modified, plus any other southern short-track happenings.

No worries, though, as Bob, being the upstanding pro he was, voted all for it, and I became Field Editor South for four years, enjoying every day of it.

Dick Berggren was the northern modified columnist at this same time, and our editor was Rich Benyo, my friend to this day. I didn’t know Rich when I applied, but we all worked well together, forming quite a homey staff. It was Rich who gave me my first shot being published in a magazine. Lots of fun.

I haven’t read SCR in years, I’ll admit, but I’m going to miss it as the institution it was and the stand it took up for racing in its infancy.

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2008

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