|Barney Hall (L) and Ken Squier|
Following the announcement of the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame class, NASCAR announced the creation of a new award to honor the contributions of media to the success of the sport. The award, which will become part of the annual NASCAR Hall of Fame ceremonies beginning in February 2013, will bear the names of the first two award winners, legendary broadcasters Ken Squier and Barney Hall, and be called the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.
A special exhibit will be created as part of the existing media section within the NASCAR Hall of Fame to recognize the careers of Squier and Hall, as well as honorees in the years to come.
“Media have played an important role in the growth and popularity of NASCAR over the years by telling the stories of legendary drivers, championship moments and week-to-week action to millions of fans across the world,” said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. “The voices of Ken Squier and Barney Hall are an indelible part of our sport’s history and we couldn’t be more pleased to recognize their long and outstanding careers.”
Squier, one of NASCAR’s original broadcasters, carved a massive footprint during NASCAR’s formative broadcast years. Beginning with the Motor Racing Network (MRN) in 1970, Squier’s golden voice took NASCAR to a national audience thirsting for live coverage. He is perhaps best-known for his work during the 1979 Daytona 500, a milestone moment for the entire sport, as Squier’s voice on CBS welcomed millions to the first live flag-to-flag coverage of “The Great American Race” – a moniker he coined.
Following that signature moment, including his call of the post-race fight between Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison, Squier proceeded to call races for CBS and TBS until 1997 before shifting to the studio as host for NASCAR broadcasts until 2000. Squier continues to enlighten NASCAR fans to this day, mostly through special appearances on SPEED.
Hall began his career in the 1950s working at local radio stations in North Carolina and served as Bristol Motor Speedway’s first public address announcer when the track opened. He called his first Daytona 500 in 1960, and has missed only three broadcasts in the 54-year history of The Great American Race. He joined MRN as an original announcer at the network’s inception in 1970, first as a turn announcer and then moving to the booth in the late 70s where he has been a fixture ever since at race tracks from coast to coast. The Elkin, North Carolina, native who is widely known for his calm voice and unmatched storytelling, was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Hall of Fame in 2007.
Hall has called a number of the sport’s milestone moments, including the landmark 1979 Daytona 500, Richard Petty’s 200th-career victory in 1984 and Dale Earnhardt’s 1998 victory in the Daytona 500. Still active, Hall led the MRN broadcast of last week’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Each year, five nominees will be selected by a panel made up of NASCAR executives, NASCAR Hall of Fame staff, and the president of the NMPA, among others. From there, a voting panel will select an annual winner of the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence, beginning with the third honoree (Squier and Hall are the first two) in 2013. It is anticipated the annual award winner will be announced in June, approximately one month after the Hall of Fame inductees are announced.
Squier-Hall Award winners will remain eligible for NASCAR Hall of Fame induction. Likewise, current and future inductees who made significant contributions as a member of the media will be eligible to win the Squier-Hall Award.
The 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will be held Feb. 8, 2013.