ARGABRIGHT: Trying To Digest Some Heartbreaking News

9
22

FISHERS, Ind. — The news came sharp and hard, bringing a dizzying blow and settling deep in the gut where it lay there and ached.

National Speed Sport News is ceasing publication and closing, effective with this issue.

For a few moments I couldn’t fully grasp what this meant. The greatest media institution in motorsports history, destined to exist only as a grand memory.

There isn’t any good way to digest this news, because this newspaper has been a great deal more than ink and paper. It has been our community, our identity, our trusted friend. A weekly visitor that brings news and information and a connection to the sport we deeply love.

It is perhaps a sign of the times, where shifting consumer habits have reshaped the world of information and media. But if you’re looking for analysis, I offer none; today I’m simply too sad about the “what” to care very much about the “why.”

This newspaper has informed and influenced the sport for 77 years; throughout that period no media entity held greater respect and credibility than Speed Sport News. Since 1934 the people involved in the paper made it professional and solid; yet, it never felt like a distant corporate entity. It was something that belonged to all of us; it was our paper.

It is impossible to measure the impact this publication has had. Collectively, you can trace the growth of motorsports directly through these pages. Four generations of readers have pored over the words and photos, gaining greater understanding and appreciation for our sport.

In the early, pre-war years when racing steadily grew, Speed Sport News was there. During the post-war boom, Speed Sport News was there. Through the dynamic 1960s and ’70s, and into the ’80s and beyond as racing moved into the mainstream, Speed Sport News was there. Throughout, this newspaper never wavered from its mission: to provide the most accurate and comprehensive coverage across the widest spectrum of motorsports.

But the real impact of this paper was on the individual. For those of us fortunate enough to have been directly involved, it literally changed our life. From the people in the office to the writers and columnists and photographers from across the land, we were proud to be associated with an exciting and earnest and vitally important entity.

And so it is with the group that perhaps most acutely feels the loss on this day — the readers. How many of us have savored that little surge of excitement as we opened the mailbox to see this logo? How often have we leaned back to study the pages, nodding and chuckling and grumbling and smiling and folding it up with the knowledge that what we read was important and meaningful?

That’s what I will miss the most: Holding the paper in my hands, learning, listening, reading between the lines.

Of course, my emotions include great disappointment for the people most directly affected by today’s announcement. For Corinne Economaki and her devoted staff, who now find themselves out of a job amid an economy that is still a long way from healthy. For the advertisers, to whom Speed Sport News provided a steady flow of customers and commerce. For the series and tracks and teams and their sponsors, who were followed each week on these pages.

It leaves us wondering: Where do we go from here? What will take the place of this newspaper in our lives? What entity will emerge that can deliver all the things this newspaper provided?

How will I reconcile the fact that there isn’t going to be that moment of excitement and satisfaction each week when the paper arrives at my house?

This is one of those moments where the present does not provide enough depth to fully interpret what this means. It will likely take some time — weeks, months, perhaps years — before we will adequately gauge the void this newspaper leaves with its passing.

But for today, we simply look back across those 77 years and say: Thank you. You inspired us, entertained us, enlightened us, and yes, defined us. National Speed Sport News was at the very heart of our sport, and anybody who even briefly touched these pages will never forget the role it played.

For the sport, for the players, for all of us.

Goodbye, old friend. It won’t be the same without you.

The views expressed by NSSN columnists and readers in the opinion or community sections of this website do not necessarily reflect those of the management and staff of National Speed Sport News, Kay Publishing or Media1934 LLC.