OSHKOSH, WI (JUNE 14, 2024) – Delta Sigma Phi-Epsilon Beta Alumni John Close (’72) has been selected as one of 13 individuals to receive the University Of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Distinguished Alumni Award this Fall.

The award – the highest honor the UW-O Alumni Association can bestow on an individual graduate –  will be presented to Close during the school’s Homecoming Celebration on Friday, October 18 at the Culver Family and Alumni Center on the UW-Oshkosh campus.

A 1972-1975 Active member of Delta Sigma Phi, Close served as UW-O Interfraternity Council President in 1973.

He is the seventh Epsilon Beta member to receive Distinguished Alumni honors from UW-Oshkosh joining Scott Bucklin (1997), Ron Schreier (2012), Victor Alatorre (2013), Jerry Gonyo (2020), Chuck Christburg (2022), and Jim Rath (2022) who were previously selected.

Close spent most of his professional career as a NASCAR media/marketing specialist, book author, and race day spotter.

From 1985-1993, the Manitowoc, WI native covered more than 70 motorsports events a year as a writer for multiple publications including Stock Car and Circle Track Magazines. During this time, he also managed public relations initiatives for several Midwestern race tracks including Slinger (WI) Superspeedway and Rockford (IL) Speedway.

Close joined the NASCAR ranks full-time as a Public Relations Specialist for driver Bobby Labonte and the No. 22 Maxwell House Winston Cup Series entry in February 1994.

Over the next 19 seasons, Close facilitated and managed public relations and marketing projects for multiple NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series teams including Richard Petty Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Ultra Motorsports, and Hendrick Motorsports.

Close also continued his motorsports writing career during this period crafting stories for NASCAR Winston Cup Scene and NASCAR Illustrated.

In 1996, Close became the race day spotter for Richard Petty Motorsports driver Rich Bickle in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Close remained in the spotter ranks for 13 seasons calling more than 200 NASCAR Cup, Busch (now Xfinity) and Truck Series and special, high-profile Super Late Model Stock Car events.

Among his career spotting highlights are guiding rookie driver Donny Lia to a Truck Series win at Mansfield (OH) Speedway in 2008 and victories with Bickle in the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (Pensacola, FL) in 1999 and the Slinger Nationals in 2003.

Close retired from NASCAR at the conclusion of the 2012 season after managing the public relations efforts for Joe Gibbs Racing driver Max Gresham, the NASCAR K&N Series champion that year.

He also has authored five books, the most recent Barnyard to Brickyard – The Rich Bickle Story – in 2019.

He currently lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife Gail.