Don't Worry Norm, You Won't Be Forgotten By H.A. Branham NASCAR Public Relations For most of the previous decade, the calls would come regularly from Norm Froscher. Long retired from the Gainesville Sun, Norm was still working as a freelance...
Don't Worry Norm, You Won't Be Forgotten
By H.A. Branham
NASCAR Public Relations
For most of the previous decade, the calls would come regularly from Norm Froscher. Long retired from the Gainesville Sun, Norm was still working as a freelance writer. In his later years Norm didn't wait for assignments, he went out and got them.
He did so by developing detailed pitches, which he would rattle off like an auctioneer, trying to get you interested in a possible story for one of our NASCAR-licensed publications. Without fail, when the conversation was over, he'd end the call virtually the same way, whether we had a deal or not:
"Thanks man ... now don't forget about me."
Norm Froscher died Thursday in Gainesville. Complications from heart surgery ended his life at the age of 79. Seems strange his heart would let him down. After all, it was made of gold.
Ask around. Talk to the veterans of the motorsports media and listen to how not a one of them will have something bad to say about ol' Norm, whose experience and expertise were topped only by his humanity.
The feisty little gentleman -- what was he, 5-5, 5-6? -- was a giant. Don't forget that. Fittingly, he'll forever have a media center named after him, at Gainesville Raceway where he became the dean of media covering the NHRA Gatornationals drag races -- and also of the true deans of motorsports writing, period. He had shelves full of writing awards, and was a was a past president of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association and the Florida Sports Writers Association.
Those of us who been around this sport for awhile are hurting this week, people like Dodge manufacturer representative Denny Darnell, who knew Froscher from their shared NHRA days, when Darnell worked for R.J. Reynolds, then the title sponsor for both the NHRA and NASCAR's premier series.
"Few people have painted a more vivid picture of a motorsports event with words than Norm Froscher," Darnell said Friday. "He was a lightweight in physical size, but a heavyweight in every other category. He was the consummate journalist. His credibility was impeccable. His audience was always rewarded with accurate, informative and entertaining reading.
"The Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway -- it was Norm's event. He spent weeks before the race gathering information for special sections and race coverage. Quality was his trademark. His coverage of the Gators became the standard by which others were measured."
When Winston helped finance construction of the suite complex at Gainesville, included was a media center. Jeff Byrd, now President and General Manager at Bristol Motor Speedway, was the manager of the drag racing program for RJR at that time and led the effort to name the media center in his honor.
Is a life well-led consolation for a grieving family? We can only hope so. Norm leaves behind his wife of 42 years, Marilyn, sons Norman Jr., Morris and Teague and a grandson, Jordan.
And all of us.
This was a good and decent man, who lived a full life immersed in a sport he loved. The standard he set in his business was all about excellence. But Norm Froscher set other standards in things far more important than words on a page.
"We should all aspire to bring the same credibility to our lives," said his old friend Darnell.
Don't worry, Norm, we won't forget you.
(Norm's family has scheduled a viewing at Forest Meadows Funeral Home in Gainesville from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday. The funeral will be at Forrest Meadows Cemetery at 10 a.m. on Monday.)