Sprint Car & Midget founder Doug Auld passed away early Sunday at the age of 59.
Sprint Car & Midget founder Doug Auld passed away early Sunday at the age of 59.

Doug Auld, Sprint Car & Midget Founder Dies At 59

Doug Auld, Hall of Fame journalist and founder of Sprint Car & Midget Magazine, died at home early Sunday morning (Oct. 10) following a brief illness. He was 59.

Over the past two decades Doug was one of the most impactful and influential figures in open-wheel racing. His columns and feature stories entertained and informed countless numbers of readers, and his views and opinions helped shape the direction of the sport. His friendship with a great range of personalities—from industry leaders to drivers and car owners to fellow media members—was a driving force in the day-to-day life of the sport for more than 20 years.

“A giant has left us,” said Dave Argabright, longtime Sprint Car & Midget writer and columnist. “Doug was intensely passionate about motorsports, and his effort and determination provided a great magazine to tens of thousands of readers over the past 20-plus years. 

“Very few people can match the impact Doug had on the sport over the past two decades. He created one of the most important media brands in short track racing, and he set the bar high from the beginning and never wavered. He was a major force in our sport and his passing leaves an enormous void.

“But the real impact is that we have lost a great friend. All of us who were close to Doug cherished our time with him, and it is impossible to express what a terrific loss we are feeling right now.”

A native of New York, Auld relocated to Florida in 1992 to launch “Short Track USA with Doug Auld,” which aired on several radio stations throughout west-central Florida. During this period he served as track announcer at several area tracks including East Bay Raceway Park, DeSoto Speedway, and Sunshine Speedway.

In 1993, Auld began writing a weekly column for Motorsports Weekly as well as doing freelance writing with several motorsports publications. In 1996, his column began appearing in the Tampa Tribune, the largest daily newspaper on Florida’s Gulf Coast. In 1997, Auld expanded his range with Short Track Racing, a weekly television show featuring racing highlights and interviews.

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What started as a career as a freelance writer eventually led Doug Auld to become editor of Sprint Car & Midget Magazine.

Auld accepted a full-time position as Assistant Editor of Open Wheel Magazine in 1999, which stood alone as the first national print media devoted exclusively to short track open wheel racing. Within one month he was elevated to the position of Editor, taking the reins during a period of great upheaval for the magazine, which had been purchased one year earlier by conglomerate General Media.

From 1999 to 2001 Auld led the magazine through increasingly turbulent waters as corporate pressure attempted to turn the magazine from its roots: serving the sprint car community with passion and professionalism.

In late September 2001 the racing industry was rocked when General Media announced the immediate and indefinite closure of Open Wheel. The closure was a significant blow to grassroots racing as Open Wheel had served as a crucial monthly conduit to the racing community. Auld was shifted to a role with another media title within the company.

Undaunted, Doug quickly began assembling the necessary components to launch a new monthly magazine: Sprint Car & Midget. Drawing upon a combination of grit, gumption, passion, and determination, Doug’s dream became a reality when the first issue of the magazine shipped on Feb. 8, 2002 with a cover date of March 2002.

Over the next two decades, Auld stayed at the helm for 237 consecutive issues of Sprint Car & Midget. The magazine was initially based in Florida and relocated to Piqua, Ohio, in 2005. In September 2017, Sprint Car & Midget was purchased by Turn 3 Media, the parent company of SPEED SPORT. Auld continued as Editor.

“Over the years, we’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity to work side-by-side with some of the most passionate, devoted and knowledgeable professionals in the business,” said Turn 3 Media CEO Joe Tripp. “But among them, I can honestly say Doug Auld stood out.  He was a stubborn and steadfast supporter of the brand he created — Sprint Car & Midget — and the sport he dearly loved. His passion was infectious, and therefor he helped all of us at Turn 3 Media elevate our game.  His passing leaves a huge void in the short-track world — and a hole in the hearts of those of us who called him friend.”

From Sprint Car & Midget’s beginning, Auld authored the anchor column in the front pages of each issue. His writing reflected his personality: passionate, strong-willed, and based on his fundamental commitment to a free press. His opinions were shaped by the core values that have shaped sprint car and midget racing for decades: a belief that this is a blue-collar sport for the masses, known for spectacular competition and compelling personalities.

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The first cover of Sprint Car & Midget Magazine

In 2003, Auld joined the Advisory Board of Directors at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, and from August 2006 to August 2007 served as President of the Board of Directors.

“Doug was one of the pillars of our sport,” said Bob Baker, Executive Director of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum. “His articles and columns were an important resource for all these years, and his influence and leadership had a genuine impact on the direction of the sport.

“Doug was a person who was easy to befriend, because he cared about people. He was close to a lot of people in our sport, people who confided in him. He was a trusted friend, and he touched a tremendous number of people, both with his work and with his friendship. This is a great loss not just for sprint car racing, but for all of racing.”

Following his passion, Auld built a 360-ci sprint car in late 2001 and raced competitively throughout Florida and the Midwest until 2007.

An avid musician, Auld recorded several rock albums in recent years as “Tyler Cross,” writing and performing his own material from his home studio.

 In 2017, Auld was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. He was a six-time recipient of the Media Member of the Year award from the National Sprint Car Poll, and in 2005 Auld was honored with the “Outstanding Contribution to the Sport” award. He was also honored with several awards from both the Dayton Auto Racing Fans and the Hoosier Auto Racing Fans.

Auld is survived by his wife of 39 years, Chelsea. He is also survived by two daughters, Shawna (husband, Daniel) and Kayla, and two grandchildren. Auld’s mother, Virginia Auld, also survives, along with brother Jack Auld. Auld was preceded in death by his father, John Auld.

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