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Life In The Pits

Life In The PitsWhen the Daytona 500 rumbles through Florida on Sunday, a Tufts graduate will be reporting from the most exciting seat in the house – the pits. Daytona Beach, Fla.

Boston [02.14.03] More than 160,000 spectators are expected to pack the Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, with millions more tuning in from home to watch the Daytona 500. But few will have a better vantage point than Tufts graduate Dick Berggren - who will be reporting for Fox Sports from the raceway's action-packed pits.

"Pit road is loud, fast and dangerous and you never know where a story is going to develop," Fox Sports President Ed Goren told Race Wire. "Dick Berggren [and his colleagues] have the experience and the savvy to cover pit road like never before. I'm confident that they will deliver the most comprehensive and entertaining coverage the sport has ever seen."

By the time the cars make their final laps on Sunday, Beggren and his team will have logged more than 80 hours of coverage during the 10-day racing-intensive period known as SpeedWeeks.

For much of that time, the Tufts graduate will be based on Daytona's pit area - arguably home to the most excitement on the track.

"Sometimes it's difficult to separate it all out," Berggren - who earned his doctorate degree in psychology at Tufts - told The Boston Globe. "The producer is saying to go to one pit, then you hear a driver talking to his crew and you know something is cooking at a second place, and your assistant is pointing to a third place. You literally run from one place to another."

A longtime racing fan and the founder of Speedway Illustrated Magazine, Berggren is right at home alongside the crews, drivers and cars.

"It isn't so surprising to see Berggren at the track, listening to his producer with one earpiece and monitoring the 10-12 teams he's assigned to follow on the scanner plugged into his other ear," reported the Globe. "Meanwhile, his eyes are constantly monitoring the track and pit lane, looking for signs of trouble on the track or a crew getting animated in the pits."

In addition to Berggren and six other reporters and broadcasters, Fox has installed 50 cameras throughout the Daytona Speedway to capture the action.

A thirty-year veteran of racing, the Tufts graduate has just about seen it all.

"As executive editor of Speedway Illustrated Magazine, Berggren's career on the fast track has included all phases from driver, pit crew, promoter, public relations, announcer to national television exposure with ESPN, CBS and CNN," reported Near News. "Berggren was a regular driver in the Sportsman Division throughout the eastern stock car racing circuit and recorded 27 first place finishes before calling it a career as a driver."

Just about every aspect of covering racing is great, Berggren says. All except one.

"When we have to hand over the NASCAR coverage to NBC in July, that's just brutal," the Tufts graduate told the Globe, explaining that Fox and NBC alternate on covering the Daytona 500. "That's the pits."


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