"What I Didn't See Coming..."

     My first foray into the karting world came in the mid 1980’s when a co-worker convinced me to go to the track with him one weekend. I had spent the better part of my life racing cars at dirt tracks across the Carolinas, either as a crew member or driver. This co-worker convinced me to try my hand at karting, so I did, and that lasted almost two seasons (yes Virginia, we had an “off-season” back in the day).
      After going back to the “car” thing for a few years, in 1997, a change of employment reunited me with the co-worker that had convinced me to try karting more than a decade earlier. But by this time, he was a Series Race Director, and in need of a photographer to make sure that his Series was represented in the WKA magazine, (yeah, back in the day, they actually published dirt stuff).
      This guy knew that I was an avid “amateur” photographer, and that I had studied journalism in school for a couple of years. Without giving it much thought, I finally agreed to help the guy out, on a race-by-race deal. Let’s see… How’s the saying go? Uhhh, “and the rest is history!”
      Seriously, one thing led to another over the next few years, and my involvement in the sport fluctuated due to my “day job.” But, the desire to obtain the American Dream of Self-Employment was too much when the chance was presented in January 2002. At the age of forty, my wife allowed, and supported me while I ventured into the world of event photography. At this time, I was freelancing my work to anyone that would pay a nickel or two for it. I soon settled into a fairly steady gig with Speedway USA magazine, published by Rob Howden out of Canada.
      Then, just as things were getting somewhat comfortable, Rob gives me a call. I remember it well. It’s early August 2004, I’m packing the car for our annual vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC, my wife hands me the phone, letting me know that it’s Rob on the line. Rob starts the conversation like all the others, “hey man, what’s happening down your way?” A couple of minutes of casual chit-chat, and Rob informs me that he’s pulling the plug on his magazine. The sound of his voice made it clear that it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but he had many “irons in the fire” and this was one that he could most afford to shake.
      Wow, what a way to start a vacation, right? Well, I made some phone calls once I returned to town, and began lining up other publications to offer my services. But, it became apparent very quickly, that it just wasn’t going to be enough.
      Then after several casual conversations with a few industry leaders, someone convinced me that a magazine of my own was what I needed. What!? I discounted that notion for several weeks, while it remained heavily on my mind.
      Now, it’s the beginning of December 2004, and suddenly, I’ve got several promises of support if I choose to launch a publication. Well, with the Dirt World Championships looming at the end of the month, the window of opportunity as I saw it, was small, and wasn’t going to stay open very long. I was going to Daytona, regardless, either as a freelance photographer, or a self-employed publisher.
      Well, as of 2012, it's the seventh anniversary of Chase’n Race’n Illustrated, so you know which decision was made, and that’s “what I didn’t see coming!”

Rowdy Jordan
Owner / Editor