Mostly, I've learned about drag racing, although I've picked up some knowledge about dirt racing, and I'll cover the Daytona Prototypes this weekend at Virginia International Raceway.
And it hasn't been easy. I struggled to find Ace Speedway near Altamahaw, N.C. I nearly got run over in the pits at 311 Speedway in Pine Hall, N.C. I walked until my legs felt numb below the knees at Piedmont Dragway below Greensboro. I had a terrible time finding a place to sit down at Caraway Speedway in Sophia, N.C. And I got soaking wet last week at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Speedway in Concord.
But overall it's been a blast. I was born to cover auto racing — I'm good at other sports and non-sports, but I'm best at racing. I immediately realized that in the '80s when I started covering Hoss Ellington's Winston Cup team in Wilmington, N.C. I didn't know a lot about racing then, but even then I knew I had a knack for it. I've enjoyed writing about other subjects, but I've stuck with racin'.
My best stories for TRJ have been about some guys who were struggling to get on-track at Farmington Dragway, my Piedmont Dragway feature on Todd Tutterow, my feature on South Boston Speedway promoter Cathy Rice, and my feature on Rockingham Speedway reopening. My worst features for TRJ? You'll have to read the paper to find them. I can't say. I don't know if I have any.
I've always been a good photographer, but I struggled a bit with photography when I started taking on-track racing pictures in March. I was always a tad slow in snapping the pictures, or I'd take them a bit too quick. I've begun to catch up, and I'm proud of my best pictures. My lousy pictures, well, I'll delete them from the digital camera.
We're beginning to find an audience for TRJ, which is a weekly publication of the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal. TRJ covers auto racing as far west as Hickory Motor Speedway, as far north as Virginia International Raceway, South Boston Speedway, Wythe Speedway and other tracks in southern Virginia, as far east as Ace Speedway and Piedmont Dragway, and as far south as Rockingham Dragway and Rockingham Speedway. People are beginning to look for us.
We don't try to "cover" stories. People already know who won the race last Saturday; I try to give them a feel for what it was like to be there. And I let you know about the drivers and the people behind the scenes. I may even get a scoop now and then.
We've done some good stuff since mid-March, and my goal is to get a LOT better.
NOTE: Because of the economy, The Racing Journal was cancelled after 11 issues. It was disappointing; I was born to do that job.
Contact: I can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, my Twitter handle is EDITORatWORK.
More blog entries by Tom Gillispie
Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie
EDITOR@WORK blog entries
Entries from The Dog Blog
Blog entries from The Auto Racing Journal
(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
(the book of great NASCAR stories)