As the checkered flag flew over the field of racers at the Monster Mile in Dover on Sunday, it also signaled the end of an era when long time pit road reporter Dick Berggren waved a checkered flag of his own on his career. For the past 32 years, Berggren has been a part of the reporting crew donned in his signature hat and armed with his giant notebook of notes on all of the teams and their drivers.
The day started out with an emotional moment for Berggren as the driver’s gave him a standing ovation during the driver’s meeting. Berggren’s fellow reporters and FOX announcers paid a tribute of their own by donning one of Berggren’s signature hats.
Now 70, - he celebrated his birthday in Charlotte over the weekend of the 600 - Berggren wants to dedicate more time to his love of visiting local dirt tracks as a spectator and construction of an auto racing museum at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Speaking on his impending plans Berggren said, “after the FOX portion of the year ends; I’ve always traveled to local tracks where I still enjoy sitting in the stands with a hot dog in one hand and a beer in the other watching the local heroes. I can’t get enough of local level racing, si I’ll do more of that now.” Berggren admits that he will miss being on pit road especially when the crew goes to Daytona in February and that he will probably drive his wife crazy; adding that the dog will like having him around.
For Berggren it ends where it all began. Writing and reporting on racing for over 40 years, Berggren worked his first race in Dover and for the past 12 years he has been a staple of the FOX pit reporting as the crew leader.
FOX colleaguesaid of Berggren, “as a colleague and friend, Dick has had no equal in the 40 plus years I’ve been in the business. He always has been the best researched reporter on the ground. Whatever the event, Dick by far is the best prepared pit reporter this business has ever known and he always has brought a great degree of professionalism to every telecast he has worked.”
Third generation racer Dale Earnhardt Jr. said, “he’s had an incredible career and he’s put a lot of his heart and soul into the sport. He’s well respected and will be missed not just personally, but because of his skill and ability. They just don’t seem to make announcers and radio personalities like that anymore.”
Prior to trawling pit road reporting on race events, Berggren raced for 15 years, founded “Speedway Illustrated” magazine, earned a doctorate degree in Pshychology, and taught Psychology at Emmanuel College in Boston for nine years – a job he used to fueled his racing desire.
Berggren admits that he will not totally disappear saying that he will continue to contribute to the magazine and will pop up on pit road from time to time.