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The Doctor is Out

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Dr. Dick Berggren

The Doctor is Out

Jeremy T. Sellers
Jerm's Joint
August 25, 2009

This summer has been insane for me, to say the least. I subscribe to several racing periodicals, all of which had time to pile up on my coffee table in our living room before I had a chance to glance through the pages of the most recent Speedway Illustrated. You know its founder as the voice from pit row on Fox during the first half of the season. What you may not know will probably surprise even the most staunch racing fan. Dr. Dick Berggren wouldn't be what most consider the typical racer.

From considering himself the "worst student" in high school, he went on to earn a doctorate in psychology from Tufts University, and eventually became a professor in this discipline for nine years at Emmanuel College before is racing and academic careers collided. Evidentally, parking your truck and trailer with a mud-covered race car on its bed in the faculty parking lot was frowned upon. Mr. Berggren ended his stint as a driver in 1981 after racing super modifieds, stocks, and sprints.

Now, his founce is unmistakable. He has worked for every racing-related network beginning with MRN and adding CBS, TBS, TNN, FOX, and SPEED to his resume. Dr. Berggren is also a member of the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame, The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, and received the Bobby Isaac Award for outstanding contributions to short track racing. Dick also worked for Stock Car Racing Magazine for 22 years before he became fed up with the beaurocracy and founded Speedway Illustrated in 1999 where he was chosen by National Motorsport Press Association as Writer of the Year.

Now this was all information that we, as fans, were probably all privy to at one point in time. What surprised me about his column in this recent issue of Speedway Illustrated is that after such success with this magazine, is that he is stepping down as the managing editor in a move that he states was a decision all his own. Dr. Dick does not elaborate on whether this will affect his job with FOX or SPEED, but basically gives the reader a "ride off into the sunset" type of feel.

In my opinion, Speedway Illustrated is the best racing periodical on the market. Yes, I am comparing it to NASCAR Illustrated, NASCAR Scene, Circle Track, and especially Stock Car Racing. What Dick Berggren did for the journalistic side of racing is nothing short of genius. His magazine was well-balanced, and multi-faceted. Covering everything from the big boys of NASCAR down to your local dirt tracks, Speedway Illlustrated has it all. It is easy to read, and reaches out for even the casual fan, it is truly sad to see Dr. Dick Berggren step down. Hopefully, we will still be hearing his voice come February from pit row in Daytona!



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