Mike Kerchner Lead Image Online

KERCHNER: Passionate

It’s a word used to describe Doug Auld throughout this edition of Sprint Car & Midget Magazine.

And he most definitely was that, but as we scrambled to put the pieces together to keep this brand chugging along after his untimely death, it didn’t take us long to learn that passion extended from Doug to everyone involved in making this magazine what it has been since he took the plunge and published the first issue in March 2002.

For those of you unfamiliar with me, I started covering motorsports in 1991 as a recent college graduate on the staff of National Speed Sport News, led by the Dean of Motorsports Journalism, Chris Economaki.

I’ve been part of the SPEED SPORT staff ever since, and starting with Chris and trickling down from there, I’ve known my share of people passionate about covering motorsports and telling the stories of the sport.

Still, I was unprepared for the passion I saw and heard from the team of Sprint Car & Midget contributors — past and present. Most have been working with Doug in some capacity for two decades or more. Many of those have been involved in motorsports for much longer.

The hours, days and weeks since Doug’s passing have not been easy.

Shock led to heartbreak and sadness.

But as the phone calls, texts and emails continued, the tone started to change. We talked about Doug, his love of music, his willingness to share his opinions and — of course — sprint car and midget racing. It was our common bond to Doug, to each other and to Sprint Car & Midget magazine.

Doug loved to tell stories, and this magazine is one of the avenues he used to tell them through poignant words and spectacular photographs.

But could Sprint Car & Midget continue without Doug Auld? It was a valid question. No matter what pit area Doug walked into, he was “the Sprint Car & Midget guy.” Everyone knew, and respected him. His absence would be huge. Sprint Car & Midget will carry on just like the rest of us, one step at a time.

No doubt, Sprint Car & Midget won’t be like it was when Doug led it through the pits and valleys of the uncertain print publishing world, but the passionate and loyal writers and photographers will continue to tell stories that need to be told about the past, present and future of open-wheel racing.

The willingness and the enthusiasm to tell those stories, even despite the loss of their leader, was the heartbeat that fueled us all as we put together this December issue of Sprint Car & Midget.

Dedication, purpose, commitment and compassion were on full display within the Sprint Car & Midget team of contributors.

“Anything I can do to help,” we were told time and time again. “I love to write about this sport,” was another common comment.

“This magazine means a lot to me,” we were told time and time again.

The stories, columns and photographs arrived as promised. The photos were captivating as always and the written words were as compelling as ever.

As the Doug Auld Tribute issue of Sprint Car & Midget magazine took shape, Doug’s family was never far from our thoughts.

Dave Argabright, who authored a fitting tribute to Doug in this issue, played two important roles behind the scenes. First off, he was in constant communication with Doug’s widow, Chelsea and his daughters, aiding his support and guidance as they mourned their loss and began taking strides toward moving on.

Secondly, Dave, has been an outstanding sounding board. His calming influence and vast knowledge of the Sprint Car & Midget contributors and readership were invaluable.

Finally, there was the glue that has held Sprint Car & Midget magazine together for all these years, Tom Rounds.

Tom has worked with Doug Auld dating back to their days producing Open Wheel magazine. Tom has designed every issue of Sprint Car & Midget magazine, including this the 238th issue. Tom and Doug were not only co-workers, but very close friends.

Knowing how closely a magazine editor and designer work together during the production cycle of a magazine, I can’t imagine the emotions that Tom encountered as he assembled these pages and read the various tributes to Doug — all while learning to work with someone different.

It couldn’t have been easy.

Doug Auld is gone, but his passion for open-wheel racing lives on in every member of the Sprint Car & Midget, SPEED SPORT and Turn 3 Media family, including the writers, the photographers, the advertisers and the readers.

God Speed Doug Auld, we’ll End Bugmiss you.

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