Ken Squier, the legendary NASCAR Hall of Fame broadcaster who was instrumental in growing NASCAR into the mainstream sport it is today, passed away on Thursday at the age of 88.
SiriusXM and MRN’s Dave Moody, who Squier mentored, provided updates throughout the week on Squier’s condition with approval from the Squier family. Squier was in hospice for a medical issue after a recent fall that resulted in a fractured pelvis. Moody posted that Squier died at 8:20 Wednesday night.
Some broadcasters become the voice of their sport. NASCAR’s voice was Ken Squier. For decades, Squier eloquently painted the picture for NASCAR fans at many races. Squier got his start as a track announcer on the short tracks of Vermont before heading south to NASCAR and starting the Motor Racing Network with NASCAR founder Bill France Sr.
For the longest time, broadcasting races on the radio was the main way for fans to follow NASCAR races live. Wide World of Sports showed some of the bigger races throughout the 60s and 70s, but they were mostly on tape delay. And even if the race was live, it would be interrupted by some other sporting event, and you would only see a small portion of the race.
Squier changed that when he pitched the idea to show all 500 miles of the Daytona 500 live, flag-to-flag. Neither CBS nor NASCAR initially embraced the idea, but when CBS broadcasted the 1979 Daytona 500, it wound up being the biggest moment in NASCAR history. Squier was on the call for that race with David Hobbs. AwfulAnnouncing