Longtime NASCAR announcer Ken Squier died Wednesday at the age of 88.
Squire is the most recognizable voice and face in NASCAR television history. He was the announcer for the 1979 Daytona 500, the race that put NASCAR on the map.
This famous race was the first NASCAR race to be broadcast live on television. Sixteen million people watched Richard Petty win as a massive snowstorm hit much of the country, while Donnie Allison and Kyle Yarbrough (Cale Yarborough) crashed while fighting for the lead. The last lap.
Viewers heard Squire exclaim “there was a fight between Kyle Yarbrough and Donnie Allison” as the two drivers became tangled up near the crashed car. This moment is one of the most iconic in NASCAR history.
Squire served as the voice of CBS’s NASCAR coverage from 1979 until 1997, when Mike Joy, the current NASCAR broadcaster on Fox, took over. Tributes to Squire from NASCAR Hall of Fame members began flooding social media Thursday morning.
When Nascar was introduced to the world with the Daytona 500 in 1979, Ken Squier was there. I believe if Ken wasn’t our lead commentator, the game wouldn’t have had a lasting impact. We’re still riding the wave of that momentum that we created that day. Kens words and…
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) November 16, 2023
Before entering the broadcasting industry, the Vermont native established Thunder Road Speedway in his hometown as a weekly stop for short track racing in the Northeast. Squier is also a co-founder of the Motor Racing Network, one of two in the state. Broadcasting NASCAR races on the air.
Squire was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the 2018 class and is the only member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame inducted primarily for his duties as a broadcaster. The NASCAR Hall of Fame also established the Squire Hall Award in 2012, named in honor of Squire and longtime radio broadcaster Barney Hall. The pair are the inaugural recipients of the award.