Kim Chapin has been promoted from writer-reporter to staff writer, and this seems as good a time as any to advise you that fan mail is to be sent to Mr. Kim Chapin. A handsome young man, Kim has had a boring time dealing with situations which arise from the assumption that "Kim" is a girl's name. He and Washington Sportswriter Shirley Povich probably could spend several therapeutic hours comparing exasperating experiences—in Kim's case the time, for example, when he considered going to Michigan State and was assigned space in a women's dormitory. He was saved from this indignity by the Thoroughbred Racing Associations, which had admired his work in the newspapers of Bay City, Mich., where he was born in 1942. The TRA awarded Chapin its Grant-land Rice Memorial Scholarship (for prospective sportswriters) to Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. "I had worked for the local papers doing sports from the day after my 15th birthday," Chapin says, "full time during the summer and part time during weekends, until I went to college."
After college he wrote for The Atlanta Journal. Kim has a particular fondness for the South—from his speech one might guess wrongly that he was born there—and one of the things he likes about it is stock-car racing. Soft-spoken, shy and, by his own claim, "not good at meeting people," he nonetheless gets on well with stock-car drivers, who are not a soft-spoken, shy group. "He talks their language," Associate Editor Bob Ottum observes, "though he talks it a lot more quietly."
Chapin's own sports are tennis, which he has played competitively since he was 10, twice going to the national junior championships, handball and, more recently, skiing. He has skied for only one season and has done very well—except for the time at Stratton in Vermont when he took off from a small jump and crashed into a shed, and the time at Stowe when, as he says, "My bindings had broken and I was mad. I threw my ski pole as far as I could, but I forgot to take it off my wrist, and it whirled around my head like a helicopter blade." On another occasion he nearly bit off the end of his tongue during a handball game at a New York YMCA. Except for tennis, he appears to be a classic sportswriter-athlete.
On page 42 of this issue you will find Chapin's article about Gary Bettenhausen and Billy Vukovich, whose fathers both were killed at Indianapolis. The news of Jim Clark's death came while Chapin was writing the article. "This may sound callous," he said, "but I can't get too upset about Clark. This is a very existential age. Once you accept the inevitability of death, living becomes that much more exciting. Winston Churchill once said, 'Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.' He wasn't talking about auto racing, of course, but he might as well have been. I think Clark felt that way, and I think Billy and Gary do, too."