Motorsports broadcasting pioneer Ken Squier received the prestigious NASCAR Buddy Shuman Award during the 2012 NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Award Luncheon today in Las Vegas. The Shuman award is sponsored Federal-Mogul's Champion brand of spark plugs, wipers and chemical additives. Squier is credited with convincing CBS television to undertake the first live, flag-to-flag broadcast of a NASCAR race and is widely recognized as one of the pre-eminent voices of the sport.
Squier is the 56th
recipient of the award, which is presented annually to an individual who has
played a key role in the continued growth and success of Cup racing. The award
was established in memory of early NASCAR Grand National driver and chief
technical inspector Louis Grier "Buddy" Shuman, a beloved figure who
died tragically in a hotel fire in 1955.
For more than 20 years,
Squier provided lap-by-lap commentary during NASCAR Cup telecasts and is
credited with convincing CBS to offer flag-to-flag coverage of the Daytona 500
beginning in 1979. His timing couldn't have been better: The broadcast was seen
by millions who were kept at home by a major East Coast storm, and those who
tuned in witnessed the legendary trackside fistfight between drivers Bobby
Allison and Cale Yarborough. Squier was the first to describe the annual Cup
Series opener as "The Great American Race" and introduced a number of
innovations - including the in-car camera - to motorsports telecasts.
"Ken helped bring
not only a voice, but also a face, to Cup racing," said Michael Proud,
director of marketing, North America, Federal-Mogul. "During every race
there are dozens of drivers out there battling for track position. He was the
first to bring those drivers' personalities into the race coverage. That was a
huge step that helped make the sport much more accessible for millions of
Squier announced his
first stock car race, at Morrisville (Vt.) Speedway, at 14. He announced and
promoted races at area tracks throughout the 1950s and '60s. In 1960, at age
21, he built the quarter-mile Thunder Road International SpeedBowl in Barre,
Vt., and in 1969 was co-founder of the Motor Racing Network (MRN).
For all of his success in racing, Squier is first and foremost a
broadcaster. The Vermont native began working at his father's radio station,
WDEV, at age 12 and is now president and owner of Radio Vermont, Inc., which
operates several stations in the Green Mountain State.