CONCORD, N.C. — Some things are just meant to be.
Elsewhere in this 85th anniversary issue of SPEED SPORT Magazine, Keith Waltz shares these words: “SPEED SPORT has had an immeasurable impact on the motorsports industry, but there are a handful of us who can say it literally changed our lives.”
Two weeks after graduating from Ohio’s Heidelberg College in 1991, Waltz, who has become a lifelong friend, hired me to join the SPEED SPORT staff in Ridgewood, N.J., working under the direction of himself and Chris Economaki.
A lifelong race fan, I’d seen Chris on television and read National Speed Sport News for years before replying to a classified ad in the paper.
One thing led to another and soon I was on a plane — the first flight of my life — heading east to interview. Not long after that, my 1983 Chevrolet Chevette left tiny Tiffin, Ohio, loaded to the gills for the nine-hour trek.
It was a life-changing day. Driving through the tears and fighting the urge to turn back to my close-knit family in small-town Ohio, something spurred me on.
Did I say, it was meant to be?
Little did I know when we spent our first week in New Jersey, living with SPEED SPORT Publisher Corinne Economaki that she would have a lasting impact on me. Chris and Keith taught me journalism. Corinne taught me life in the big city so to speak.
In the 28 years since, I’ve seen a lot of races and gone a lot of places. SPEED SPORT was the one constant in my everyday life through all of it — my closest friend and often my biggest frustration at the same time.
After six years in the Garden State, SPEED SPORT brought me to North Carolina, where I bought a home. Along the way, I learned everything there was to know about SPEED SPORT and became associate editor in 1999.
A few years later, SPEED SPORT brought Haven Schreiber from Kansas (no she wasn’t wearing ruby red slippers) into my life. We were married in 2005 and are working on living happily ever after. She designs this magazine, writes an occasional column in these pages and shares my love for SPEED SPORT.
During my time (I hesitate to call it a career) with SPEED SPORT, I’ve done everything from hire and fire staff to painting the walls and mowing the lawn. The biggest pleasure of it all has been overseeing a large group of the most interesting and passionate people in the industry — SPEED SPORT’s wide-ranging network of freelance writers and photographers.
There’s no question that without folks such as Ron Hedger, Steve Peters, Dave Argabright, Stan Kalwasinski, Ken Simon and hundreds of others like them over 85 years, SPEED SPORT would have never played the role in reporting motorsports news that it has.
Never has there been a more passionate bunch, dedicated to the sport they loved and the organization that allowed them to tell stories and create images that have documented racing history.
SPEED SPORT was in its heyday when I joined the staff. I rode the wave, attending races nearly every weekend. SPEED SPORT and racing were my life.
As the years passed, technology changed and people found new ways to get their news. SPEED SPORT began delivering the news not only to mailboxes, but to computers and eventually cellphones.
With revenue down and expenses up, Corinne made the agonizing decision to stop publishing SPEED SPORT in March 2011.
I, like so many, was lost.
While trying to figure out what was next in my life, I decided to continue updating the SPEED SPORT website without any salary in an attempt to keep the brand relevant. How long I would do that, I didn’t know.
Again, something good was meant to be.
Later that year, Joe Tripp, Ralph Sheheen and Curt Moon created Turn 3 Media and we set out with the intention of returning SPEED SPORT to print. Exactly one year after closing, we launched SPEED SPORT Magazine as a monthly publication.
This issue of SPEED SPORT Magazine is the 90th we’ve produced and the company has grown to include a video production department. We added Sprint Car & Midget Magazine to the family in 2017.
To use another familiar phrase, there has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears along the way, but I wouldn’t tradeit for anything.
It was meant to be.