Doug Lead Photo Online
June 1962 – October 2021 By Dave Argabright - JOHN MAHONEY PHOTO

DOUG AULD

It was September, 2001. Doug Auld sat in the office chair, trying to process the words from the publishing executive. His magazine — the magazine he was responsible for producing each month — was being discontinued due to budget cuts, effective immediately.

It wasn’t just any magazine; it was Open Wheel, the groundbreaking and influential magazine dedicated to sprint car and midget racing. Auld had taken the editor’s position two years earlier and had embraced the role with passion and enthusiasm.

2013 Chili Bowl Doug Auld Pat Sullivan Robin Miller2 Online
Doug Auld Pat Sullivan Robin Miller at the 2013 Chili Bowl – TIM AYLWIN PHOTO

The wheels in Auld’s mind were immediately turning. There had to be some way the magazine could continue; maybe he could convince the publishing execs to reconsider. After all, very few magazines could match the emotional connection Open Wheel had developed with readers. Surely the suits could see the folly of throwing away more than two decades of reader loyalty?

The emotions of that moment shaped the remainder of Auld’s life and would ultimately have a profound impact on the open-wheel racing scene in America. Auld would dig deep, calling upon the traits that had defined his life thus far: determination, tenacity, stubbornness and sheer will power.
Another difficult challenge was at hand.

Auld, the founder of SprintCar & Midget Magazine, died on Oct. 10 at age 59 after a brief illness. Tributes immediately poured from every corner of the sport and it was evident that Auld’s lifetime of work had impacted countless people.

A native of Mahopac, New York, Auld’s path to racing prominence was unlikely. His first passion was music, and in the late 1970s and early 1980s he was immersed in the New York City club scene, providing guitar work and vocals and playing an eclectic mix of rock music.

Eventually Auld formed his own band — Doug Auld and the Score. They rose in prominence throughout the NYC scene and were heard often at CBGB’s, a hugely popular music hotbed.

After a couple of job stints that included work with a vitamin manufacturer, in 1993 Auld and his wife Chelsea welcomed daughter Shawna to their family. Like a typical New York couple, they yearned to buy a home but were overwhelmed by the costs of Big Apple property.

That’s when Auld took a bold step that forever shaped his life, and ultimately sprint car media.

2013 Chili Bowl Doug Auld Dave Argabright Online
Doug Auld Dave Argabright at the 2013 Chili Bowl – TIM AYLWIN PHOTO

“Doug’s brother (Jack) lived in Florida, and he was telling us that the prices there were so much more affordable than in New York,” recalled Chelsea Auld. “We really wanted to raise Shawna in a home of our own, so Doug went to Florida to check it out.

“I remember him calling and telling me he had found a really run-down house in Tampa, but it was something we could afford. It wasn’t much, but it was something we could call our own. And that’s where we settled down.”

Facing the obligations of a young father, Auld began looking for work in the area. He had been a racing fan all his life, following modified racing in the northeast. A natural go-getter, Auld struck a deal with a local radio station to host a racing show in exchange for a percentage of the ads and sponsorships he could sell. Soon “Short Track USA with Doug Auld” was heard on several central Florida stations.

Auld also began working the PA at several area tracks including East Bay Raceway Park, DeSoto Speedway and Sunshine Speedway, often sharing the microphone with legendary announcer Jack Miller.

Soon Auld was penning articles in the Motorsports Weekly racing publication and in 1996 became the racing columnist for the Tampa Tribune.

In February 1999 ownership of Open Wheel magazine transferred from General Media to Emap Petersen Publishing. It was a shift that would have significant impact on Auld’s career as well as the open-wheel racing community. Within months the editorial offices of the magazine were moved from the longtime home in Massachusetts to Lakeland, Fla. The shift was more than physical; the editorial staff was let go as well.

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