Phil Pash reported on auto racing and the outdoors for the New York Times and other newspapers


Phillip James Pash, 83, of Rockton, started in the newspaper business at the age of 16 writing obituaries. He eventually covered sports for various newspapers for 50 years, including the Rockford Register-Star and the New York Times. His focus was on the outdoors and auto racing. 

He died on September 30, 2022 in Janesville, WI. No services are planned at this time.

For years, Phil wrote a Sunday auto racing column in the New York Times for years. Some of the people he interviewed included Walter Payton, Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, and Bobby Allison, among others. He received many awards from the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association and other organizations. In 2000, he won 3rd place for his column "What on Earth is NASCAR trying to do now?"

Phil started the “Big Fish” program in a local paper which was very popular in the late '80s and early '90s. Readers would submit the weight and length of their fish to be published. 

At various times, Phil was assistant sports editor and outdoor editor for the Register-Star, where his motor sports column appeared Tuesdays and Fridays and his outdoor column appeared Sundays. He also had a radio program on WROK, "Outdoors with Phil Pash," from 6 -7 a.m. on Saturdays. 

He had heart bypass surgery in 1993, but it didn't take his sense of humor. Afterwards he wrote, "My chest feels as if a Rockford Speedway demo derby had been run on it... I'm going to wheel around ICU and say, 'Hi, I'm Phil Pash. What are you in here for?'"

Retiring from fifty years of newspaper work, he started his own website,, in 2005, where he wrote four columns, Up & Down the Rock, World of Wheels, The Great Outdoors, and Simply Sports. In 2006, he wrote that the project wasn't doing bad "for a site that doesn’t offer anything except reading some guy’s opinions, and news and notes from a wide variety of other sites." He continued his website until 2010, when he was 71.

He had created the World of Wheels column in the early 1970s at the now-defunct Chicago TODAY - the earliest year-round motor sports column in a Chicago paper. It later appeared in the Register-Star.

Phil was born in Freeport, IL on July 19, 1939, to Russell Pash and Mae Pash. On July 25, 1965 he married the love of his life, Donna Pash at the Old St. Mary's Oratory in Rockford. Phil was a proud graduate of Freeport Aquin High School.

Phil was an avid fan of auto racing. He was a member of the Blackhawk Valley Region (BVR) of the Sports Car Club of America. He spent many weekends at Blackhawk Farms Raceway in South Beloit and Road America in Plymouth, WI. He made many friends through his association with BVR. He was a member of the Rockford Speedway Walk of Fame.

Phil also loved to fish. He and Donna spent many hours fishing the lakes and rivers all over Illinois and Wisconsin. He would write about many of those adventures in his newspaper columns.

He was survived by Donna Pash, his wife of 57 years; two sons, Chris (Barbara) Pash of Farmington, NM, and Kevin (Terry) Pash of Goose Creek, SC. Grandson Brett Pash of Farmington, NM; He is also survived by his sister “Inky” (Oliver) Anason of Janesville, WI.

He was preceded in death by his parents Russell Pash and Mae Pash and his mother and father-in-law, Don and Darlene Blankenship.

No services are planned at this time.

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