Media: Racescribe is geared up, thanks to a legend

Shav Glick, the photo that looks over the media center at Pomona Raceway

Shav Glick, the photo that looks over the media center at Pomona Raceway

Being mentored by Shav Glick is more than I ever could have asked for when I began working for the Los Angeles Times in 1990. But 18 years on, the opportunity to work alongside Shav — no one referred to him as Glick — was the highlight of my career in journalism.When he started covering racing in 1969, one of the first drivers Shav interviewed was Don Prudhomme, and one of the first reporters The Snake encountered was Shav Glick. Both were inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Novi, Mich. Shav was the first — and to date, only — print journalist from a daily newspaper so honored.

He was eventually forced to choose between golf and auto racing. An avid golfer, most thought his choice was a no-brainer. Instead, he chose race drivers over wooden drivers because “racers are more interesting, all of them have a different story.” Among them was Junior Johnson, who received the Shav treatment in 1978.

My own professional introduction to the sport came at the Camel Grand Prix of San Diego in 1991. Working for the San Diego County Edition of The Times, the gig was mine mostly because I was not intimidated by it and Shav was not available.

Everywhere I went that first weekend, my introduction — “I’m Martin Henderson with the Los Angeles Times” — was followed by an immediate and predictable reaction.

“Where’s Shav?”

I explained that Shav was on vacation and couldn’t make it. In fact, Shav’s vacation coincided with the event so he wouldn’t have to come South on Interstate 5. Unlike Shav, I wanted to be there that weekend.

To that end, the reason I’m here today is largely due to those I dealt with, particularly Dan Gurney, Juan Manuel Fangio II, Davy Jones and Chip Robinson. All professionals, my first experience might have been my last had they been jerks. Instead, they were terrific. So too was the support staff, particularly Adam Saal and Kevin Wilkerson.

Taken together, the experience couldn’t have been better.

Shav and I were often at the Grand Prix of Long Beach and someone would invariably come shake his hand and treat him like an old friend. Then Shav would turn and ask, “Who was that?” Eventually, we reached a point where I could tell him. One of the most impressive things I have seen in racing came at a Long Beach Grand Prix party when Shav asked me to tag along. We spent the night standing against a wall. Never moved a foot. I met just about everyone in the room because they came by to give their regards to Shav.

A few years ago, while leaving a restaurant with former Irwindale Speedway PR man Doug Stokes, Shav had a spell and collapsed. The third man in that dinner party was Chris Economaki. My understanding is that Stokes spent most of the night listening, and who wouldn’t? Shav gave equal treatment to all disciplines of racing, and was surpisingly fond of motocross and hydroplane boats.

As the years passed, Shav crossed the threshold of his ninth decade. I looked forward to shepherding his legacy at The Times and continuing his great work. Remarkably, The Times gave the job to a colleague from the Business Section.

Shav’s last day at The Times was Jan. 16, 2006, and was 85 when he walked out the door for the last time. He died on Oct. 20, 2007, after a long bout with melanoma. He was 87.

He didn’t get cheated. Not in life, anyway.

In some ways I’m glad he’s not here to see what has become of The Times, a company he worked at for 55 years. It has become a shell of what it once was, and that was before it showed me the door. He did not deserve the hassle of new media. He was the last person to learn email, as far as I know, except for John Force.

But I’m disappointed Shav can’t see this new adventure here as we uncover the “more interesting” personalities in motorsports, along with a few other things.

I think Shav would approve.

My name is Martin Henderson, and I am a racescribe.


One Response to “Media: Racescribe is geared up, thanks to a legend”

  1. faggotry…

    Great Read…I really value your information!…

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