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This weeks interview is with Karl Fredrickson, Editor of Dick Berggren’s Speedway Illustrated Magazine. I’ve always known that bits and pieces of A-body Chevelle frames were still used in current circle track race cars, but I really didn’t know to what depth or level. I asked Karl on the show to help explain the mystery…..and it turns out that there was even more to it than I had hoped! As he explained in the interview, there are integral chassis components of the cars we’ve all known and loved for years that are still being used on the race cars producing the next generation of race drivers!
Karl developed his love of racing when a friend took him to a race at Hudson Speedway in New Hampshire. It was a life changing event for him, and he was hooked instantly. When he turned sixteen he started begging everyone he knew, except his parents (who were opposed to it), to take him to the speedway to go racing. Eventually he broke down and had to tell his parents what he had been doing every weekend, and surprisingly they were supportive and let him work on his race car at home. His dad told him that he knew people in the business and to contact Doug Gore. This connection led to a job at Stock Car Racing Magazine and twenty two years later he is still working with approximately the same group of people.
Speedway Illustrated Magazine is a print publication, which in this day and age is a rare (and tough) media model to pull off. As Karl has wisely said many times to me, “the only reason to do print is because you can do print!” Even I must admit that there is a connection with print media that you do not get with electronic presentations; i.e. the real feeling you get from the ability to pick it up and hold it in your hands. He pointed out that sometimes it takes reading and rereading an article many times before it sinks in fully and with a printed magazine that is easy to do. Speedway Illustrated makes an effort to have great looking photographs and well edited, focused articles so that the reading experience is at it’s best.
I asked Karl about the differences between the racing classes which are covered by Speedway Illustrated. He said sometimes the names overlap a bit, which can make understanding the different classes a bit tricky for a newcomer. That being said, he explained that the main class differences all come down to the same point:whether the car has a factory frame (Detroit manufacturer derivative) or a specific frame made specifically for racing.
Of the factory frames, the old A body (Malibu, Monte Carlo) and F car (Camaro, Firebird) front clips are the most popular. Since it’s getting tougher and tougher to find good donor components many companies are now producing new pieces (built to the old GM specs) to keep up with the demand!
Karl also talked about one specific design of racing suspension, the “four bar” suspension. It actually moves the rear end forward and back depending on how hard the driver pushes the car. Karl told me about his experiences driving a four bar car and how it is not as easy as it looks, and that being “up on the bars” is a term we all need to learn if we want to go fast.
If you would like to contact Karl send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . If you mention “Rob Kibbe” he will send you a free copy of the magazine. You can also call 877-972-2362 to learn about subscribing to Speedway Illustrated Magazine. Join them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/speedwayillustrated
Thanks for the interview Karl!
This interview sponsored by our pals at National Parts Depot – your premier source for muscle car restoration parts!