Happy New Year from our team at RACER. As we begin 2022, I’m launching another chapter of my short film series that tells the unlikely origin story of RACER to commence my 50th anniversary year in racing. This latest chapter is titled “FORMULA” and covers my first year working full-time in the racing media business working for FORMULA magazine in 1975 out of a small office combined with a Formula 5000 and Formula Ford race shop in Santa Ana, California.
This chapter also deals with the deaths of several of my heroes during that tragic and dangerous year in our sport. But there were happier days as well and I was inspired by one of Dan Gurney’s best days in racing along with his role in creating the inaugural Long Beach Grand Prix with Chris Pook.
I was 18 years old when I started as a freelance artist and graphic designer in this sport in 1972 with a dream of going racing while working in the media business. I’m grateful that I have done both; however, the ratio of more than 1000 issues of magazines published that I’ve been involved with versus the 29 races I eventually participated in is a clear illustration of what was meant to be.
For additional perspective, the circulation for FORMULA was only 2563 by December of 1975 after being published since June 1973. Now as we begin to celebrate RACER’s 30th anniversary in 2022, our print and digital circulation for RACER topped 55,000 last year. More impressively, RACER.com attracted 882,602 users in December and a whopping 10,657,532 users in all of 2021, which was up 61.67% (+4,065,474 users) over 2020. More impressive is the fact that 2021’s annual user total topped pre-pandemic 2019 by a staggering 132.93% (+6,082,030 users). So clearly we are living in a remarkable period of growth and enthusiasm for racing in all of its diverse forms.
Thankfully, we are also living in a far safer time than when my long journey began in this sport. Despite all the tragedies and the sometimes deliberate foolishness I’ve seen in racing since I started so long ago, I have never lost my passion for the sport nor my desire to share the stories of racers. They have inspired me to forge ahead regardless of the challenges I’ve faced since I started this journey as a 16-year-old with a hand-made forged credential on March 28, 1971. Thank you to everyone who helped me along the way — especially our brilliant and dedicated RACER team. I also salute our loyal advertisers and you for supporting us with your passion and commitment to our great sport. We never forget that we do what we do for you.
My friend and FORMULA magazine colleague Mike Vannatter created this site that has free downloadable issues of this magazine from June 1973 (when it was known as Formula Ford Review) through May 1976:.
Watch the new episode of “Forging Ahead” below:
Catch up on previous chapters below: