WALTZ: An Enjoyable Year Of Milestone Moments

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HARRISBURG, N.C.

This year-end issue includes the 50th and final installment of our weekly history feature — Milestone Moment — and hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as we’ve enjoyed researching and writing it.

The Milestone Moment was born during a brainstorming session about how to follow the weekly series of 75th anniversary features that appeared in these pages throughout 2009. The idea ended up being rather simple. Select 50 of the most significant events in auto-racing history and use the back issues of this publication to once again tell their stories.

The journey took us from the first race on the sands of Daytona Beach, Fla., in 1936 to Danica Patrick’s 2008 IndyCar victory in Japan. There were stories of triumph and tragedy; and of gender barriers broken and speed records shattered. Some of the moments forever changed the sport while a couple gave it a black eye.

We went back to the first race at New York’s Roosevelt Raceway and we visited the final event at California’s Ascot Park. We reviewed the first USAC race and recapped the inaugural World of Outlaws event.

Drivers such as A.J. Foyt, Rodger Ward, Dan Gurney, Roy Robbins, Jimmy Clark, Richard Petty, Rich Vogler, Steve Kinser, Kenny Bernstein, Bill Elliott, Richie Evans and Dale Earnhardt were among those who played prominent roles in the sport’s most significant moments.

It is our belief that in order to understand where racing is headed, it is important to know where it’s been. So even though the Milestone Moment feature has run its course, there will continue to be a full page of history-related material in each of the 48 issues of NSSN during 2011.

The very popular Lesson in History column will move into the space formerly occupied by the Milestone Moment while the Torn from the Headlines section will be renamed Looking Back. It will continue to contain weekly news from 50 and 25 years ago along with a newsmaker and a note from Chris Economaki’s legendary column.

The page will also continue to showcase a historic photo from Economaki’s files while a new feature on the NSSN website will allow readers to enjoy many more of our editor’s spectacular images from days gone by.

While we’ve enjoyed researching and writing the Milestone Moment feature, we are looking forward to our new challenge. Starting with the Jan. 19 issue, a weekly column — one that takes a slightly different approach — will appear under our byline.

It has been many years since a weekly commentary appeared in these pages, but those early editorials were intended to generate discussion about events in the complex world of auto racing. That’s exactly what we hope to do once again.

The column will not follow a standard approach. One week it might be a commentary on something that happened over the weekend, while the next it may be a personality profile about a racer in the news. We’ll do our best to keep it fresh and interesting.

We’ll also want to hear from you. Reader feedback — be it by mail, by e-mail, via Facebook or in the comments section on the website –— will be extremely important. Race fans are notorious for only speaking out when they are upset or disagree with something, but we’ll also want to hear from you when things are good or you agree with our opinions.

It is an honor to be asked to write a weekly column for this publication as the men who have had such an assignment more than 76 years can be counted on one hand –— and one of them is not only the dean of motorsports journalists, but the man who taught us this business.

So as we put a period on 2010 and look forward to 2011, it’s time to enjoy the holidays with family and friends, and we hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.