Jimmie Johnson won the race on Sunday and edged a little closer to the points lead, but I think the bigger story was something that happened off the track. After 30 years on pit road, reporter Dr. Dick Berggren retired, making Dover his last race.
Berggren, like so many broadcasting greats who came before him symbolized Sunday through his reassuring voice, encyclopedic knowledge and that familiar flat cap. Through the changing times and personalities, Berggren brought consistency throughout. Tune in on Sunday and there was a good chance he was going to be there.
Berggren, a psychologist by trade found his passion on the short tracks of New England, racing himself for the better part of two decades. He later founded one of motorsports’ publications of record, Speedway Illustrated. In 1981, at Dover International Speedway, Berggren began his TV broadcasting career for ESPN.
And so it was on Sunday, Berggren made his last appearance on a NASCAR broadcast at Dover, some 32 years later.
Berggren was (and still is) a consummate professional, weekly toting around extensive research on each team. It’s fair to say he was the best informed and easily one of the best liked figures in the garage.
Sunday won’t be the same without Dick Berggren, but this is a moment that was well earned. We wish him and his wife Kathy, a happy semi-retirement and many years of enjoyable Friday nights at short tracks throughout the northeast.