We were recently talking about our upcoming 30th Anniversary celebration here at Circle Track. The 30th year begins officially in October of this year and runs through September of next year. I own the very first issue of CT that was printed sometime before October 1982. I say sometime because there is no date on this first run.
It’s what we in the industry call a single issue publication, or SIP. Companies do that to promote a special idea, or to launch, hopefully, a new magazine. If all goes well and the SIP is well received and supported by subscriptions and advertising, then it becomes a regular magazine.
This happened to CT and the first regular production issue was the Oct. ’82 issue. I have also just bought the first three regular production runs of CT, as an ongoing magazine, on eBay. Those are the Oct., Nov., and Dec. ’82 issues. I looked at our archives located in Editor-In-Chief Rob Fisher’s office and his collection starts with the Jan. ’83 issue.
I think it’s important to know the beginnings of a long running publication like CT in order to fully understand what the original intent of the magazine was. I will page through those issues in the coming weeks and see what the content holds and see if the editorials by the editor and tech editors tell us anything about what they expected CT to become.
One thing I find interesting is the advertisers for those very first issues. I looked at my first issue SIP and I can see some companies who are still very much in business, some that have changed names, and some that just aren’t around anymore.
Stock car racing was in full swing back then and the technology was building in all forms of auto racing. Each genre seemed to feed off the advances made by the other forms of circle track racing.
Photos that were a part of that first SIP included flat track motorcycle racing, Sprint Cars, Super Modifieds, Modified Late Models, Late Model Dirt track (before the purpose built Dirt Late Models were invented), and Street Stocks.
The content is interesting as well. Sprint Cars were a big part of the first CT issue. That is not so surprising because Open Wheel magazine was started in 1980, two years before CT, but I think it was owned by Lopez Publishing, a competitor to the owners of CT, as was Stock Car Racing magazine.
CT was a Petersen Publishing offspring and that company also owned Hot Rod magazine. CT was Petersen’s first racing publication and I believe they were trying to cover all of the bases.
Some of the feature stories included ones on Modified Late Models, Dirt Late Models, a NASCAR Grand National car, as it was known back then, and a story about a Chrysler kit car. Wow, a kit car. That is something we probably need now to enhance our entry-level short track program.
CJ Baker’s name, the first Editor of CT, appears in the first SIP issue and his column, C.J.’s Corner appears first in the Oct. ’82 issue. He said, “We intend CT to be informative and enjoyable, reflecting the energy, dedication, pleasure, and fulfillment that both racers and fans derive from all aspects of roundy-round competition.”
Smokey Yunick became a part of CT early on. In the first regular issue dated Oct. ’82, the “Track Tech by Smokey Yunick” column began. There were no letters submitted yet, it would be about three months till he could start answering reader’s submissions.
But soon he would be the most sought after racing columnist with most racers running to their mailboxes to see what Smokey had to say that month. I know I did. And even our current engine guru, Jim McFarland is listed as a contributor in the early SIP edition.
As a part of our 30th anniversary celebration, we intend to honor the originators of CT as well as the companies that came on board and supported this effort. Some of them are still with us to this day. And as usual, we will be charting new territory as our sport grows beyond the recession and into a new age.
Nothing stays the same, everything changes with time and circle track racing is no different. It’s important that we, as a group, recognize the winds of change, note its direction, and then set sail to not only be carried along by that wind, but to look ahead and chart a course that will get us to our goals.
I think if you look at the complete history of CT, that very theme was the initial intent and what we strive for on a daily basis even now. This has been a fun ride for all of the various members of the CT staff over the years, and the current staff is fully aware of our responsibilities and obligations. We’ll see you at the track soon.
If you have comments or questions about this or anything racing related, send them to my email address: Bob.Bolles@sorc.com, or mail can be sent to Circle Track, Senior Tech Editor, 9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619.