Friday, April 5, 2013

Could Racing Wheels Magazine Be Brought Back?

Back in 2010, John Soares Jr. let me know he bought Racing Wheels.  Of course, we all know the internet did a number on the racing publications here on the west coast.  It led to the demise of my magazine.  Last I heard, MotoRacing was still around, but Racing Wheels was the grand daddy of them all.  Before starting the magazine, Gary Sterner actually did programs for several tracks in the 1950's.

Back in the day, this is where you got your news.  If you weren't a subscriber, you bought a copy at the race track if you were lucky enough to be at a track that sold it.  All the latest news, race results, point standings and photos were in that paper.  There was a classified section and any big race that hoped to be successful advertised in Racing Wheels.  Could it come back, and if so, how?

First, you have to determine what you are covering.  Is it California only or West Coast?  You have to find out what writers are left to report.  Most of the tracks in there before still have reporters, though the names have changed in some cases.  Gary Jacob is no longer with us, and that left a big void.  However, there are other writers.  There are a few columnists remaining, and new ones could join the fray.

What's the schedule going to be?  Wheels was weekly during the season.  Is that still viable in 2013?  Bi-weekly?  Are you going to keep the magazine as a record of every race at the tracks you feature, which is what I prefer, or just cover every other race?  Will it be newspaper format or booklet format?

Some would say just drop the printed media, but if I brought back the name, I couldn't do that.  Plus, you'd be surprised how many people prefer printed media.  However, the internet and mobile devices are here and now.  If something happens there, then you have the printed media.  Using both, you could have a copy available on the internet to subscribers, and that includes a copy for Kindle or other devices.

Then, you have a web presence.  Racing Wheels Online.  It is subscription based with a few freebies.  Subscribers to the magazine gain access to the web page.  I don't care if you can find stuff on other pages, this magazine takes work, several hours of work.  Net content on the site can't be completely free.

I favor a page with archives, maybe even old archives.  A forum with moderation, audio and maybe even video that you can't get in the paper.  Bring it all together, and you could have a racing news source that is second to none.  Why is that important?  Racing has always lived on hype.  Don't believe me?  Wanna know why there is a Gary Jacob Memorial race?  Because he went above and beyond to hype and help promote racing in papers like Racing Wheels.  It mattered then, and it matters now.

I don't know what all John has, but if he has the archives, he is sitting on a gold mine with some of the greatest west coast racing stories ever told.  This includes racing columns from legends like Bob Barkhimer and John Soares Sr.  In fact, there are several of those.  Think of the history covered in those archives.

I don't now if Racing Wheels will ever come back.  It would take a lot of work, and people don't like to put in the effort.  I know how stressful that can be.  But if there was a will to do it and you got the right people involved, it could work.  Racing Wheels could be brought back AND still be relevant.