The NASCAR community is still grieving following the passing of legendary broadcaster Ken Squier.
The broadcaster passed away Wednesday night, and the news of his passing broke Thursday morning. Squier had been moved into hospice care recently as he was dealing with several health issues. He was 88 years old.
“Though he never sat behind the wheel of a stock car, Ken Squier contributed to the growth of NASCAR as much as any competitor,” Jim France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “Ken was a superb storyteller; his unmistakable voice is the soundtrack to many of NASCAR’s greatest moments. His calls on TV and radio brought fans closer to the sport; for that, he was a fan favorite. Ken knew no strangers, and all will miss him. On behalf of the France family and all of NASCAR, I offer my condolences to the family and friends of Ken Squier.”
Squier was a legend when it came to broadcasting. He was a master storyteller. When calling a race, he could describe what was happening in layman's terms so that people who weren’t NASCAR fans could understand what was happening. His descriptions of the racing action and storytelling brought fans closer to the sport and made people become fans of the sport.
The legend had many accomplishments in his career. He didn’t just call NASCAR races; he helped NASCAR grow and become the sport it is today. In 1970, he formed the Motor Racing Network. He brought the in-car camera to NASCAR broadcasts. Squier also urged CBS to broadcast the 1979 Daytona 500 live flag-to-flag. The 1979 Daytona 500 was the first NASCAR race to be broadcast live from flag to flag. Squier’s most famous call happened during the 1979 Daytona 500.
“And there’s a fight between Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison!” Squier practically shouted to a national television audience. “The tempers overflowing …”
Squier also coined the phrase “The Great American Race” to describe the Daytona 500. He was CBS’s lead announcer for 19 years and worked NASCAR broadcasts for TNN and TBS. In 2013, NASCAR created the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. Squier and Barney Hall from Motor Racing Network won the first Squier-Hall award. In 2018, the legendary broadcaster was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The passing of Squier had the same effect as when Dale Earnhardt died in a crash on the final lap of the 2002 Daytona 500. Earnhardt was one of NASCAR's best drivers and was respected, admired, and liked by everyone in the sport. Everyone, drivers, team owners, and fans, seemed to be fans of Earnhardt. Like Earnhardt, Squier was very well respected, admired, and liked. He was one of the best broadcasters that NASCAR has ever had.
Ken Squier will be deeply missed. To quote the man himself, he was an ordinary person who did extraordinary things and a common man who did uncommon deeds.
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)