Initial reaction to the first issue of the Journal has been very positive, although a misstep in planning of the entry page may have hurt our early "circulation" a bit. These problems have been fixed, and a flashy new menu bar scheme has been cooked up to make Journal navigation almost sensible.
Apparently, between Jim Burke, our crack staff of writers, and I (and our "copious" spare time), we've managed to make both the North American Motorsports Pages and this Journal look pretty good, to the point where I've received some email from people who have confused these pages with a well funded project, asking for jobs writing html or working on the Krusty Motorsports ITB Alfetta. I sure wish we could afford to hire someone; but that's probably not going to be possible for a while.
We have some new writers: joining us are Katie Kelly, daughter of North American Pylon publisher John Kelly, with an Autocross column (her articles will also be appearing in North American Pylon); Josh Cockey, a long time F&C worker from the Washington DC region, who will be contributing his thoughts about his adrenaline charged specialty of choice; and our Vintage Columnist, Peter Krause, a well known figure on the east coast. The big suprise, though, is that the legendary Satch Carlson is joining us as a regular Rally columnist.
To counter balance the "Alaska Effect" associated with Satch's arrival, we have a number of articles with a Florida orientation in this issue. Russell Jaslow's historical article discusses Carl Fisher, the promoter who built the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and his ties with the Miami area; the topic seemed apropos given that CART (the sanctioning body formerly known as "Indycar") makes its second visit to the Homestead Motorsports Complex this month. On top of that, my wife, our 2 ½ month old daughter, and I spent a couple of days in St. Petersburg visiting my parents and also hanging out at the Florida Grand Prix (Trans Am, FF2000, Barber Pro, World Challenge, and Pro Spec Racer Ford); not only did we have a good time and come up with a story, but Mike Buck, a long time Spec Racer/Spec Racer Ford driver in the Northeast Division contributed a story about his experiences at the 1996 and 1997 editions of this race. Add to that the fact that Josh generally goes down to St. Pete and wanted to write about it, and the next thing you know, you've got a theme issue.
Jeff Zurschmeide continues his discussion on how he built a circle track Camaro for his "other" racing career; Scott Fisher begins a series about what it takes to go racing, and Rocky Entriken continues to Blather, this time about motorsports point systems (Rocky may have thought he was talking about racing points systems, but the identical issues come up in Autocross and Rally, hence this time he ends up in the "Odds and Ends" category.)
With each issue, I think we'll get closer and closer to what I envision. One thing: we won't be taking old issues down; they'll be staying up indefinitely, and linked into the Reference sections of the North American Motorsports Pages where appropriate (so you don't need to grab a copy for safekeeping; these articles aren't going anywhere. Please don't email them around; just direct your friends to our URL.) I also plan to develop an good, hyperlinked index so that old articles can be found without excessive pain as the site grows.
One final note: shortly after this issue gets published, we'll be changing our URL. I have just started the paperwork through on our own domain name; there will be forwarding pointers from the current (soon to be old) location to the new (soon to be current) location when that happens.