HomeEnginesKen Squier was the superhero of motorsports storytellers

Ken Squier was the superhero of motorsports storytellers


That time period has turn into a bit overused. From social media influencers to suburban Substackers, everybody likes to declare themselves a storyteller. The nice ones by no means must put on that identify tag, although. You realize them as quickly as you hear them.

Ken Squier was, above all else, a storyteller.

“Like bullets they propel themselves out of the nook!”

“He is getting some air … gobbling it up in that automobile, No. 88, protecting it cool to prepare for that ultimate assault …”

“Johnny Utsman hand grenades the engine! It detonates proper on the start-finish line!”

Squier’s personal exceptional life story ended Wednesday evening, passing away on the age 88. However the sound of his completely balanced hard-yet-gentle New England voice and the tales it advised us all, from the general public tackle audio system of Vermont and MRN Radio to CBS and TBS tv, won’t ever cease echoing off the partitions and halls of racetracks and the printed cubicles that look over them.

“Have a look at that Oklahoma land rush on the backstretch!”

“He fireballs his means into the lead!”

Squier’s story is equal components Howard Cosell and Johnny Appleseed. He was a New Englander, born and raised in Waterbury, Vermont, the son of a radio station proprietor. He’d take heed to auto races carried by WDEV and have become enamored with the pressing, gallant descriptions of the lads who piloted hurtling items of equipment round locations such because the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, devouring and learning these broadcasts like a literature professor delving into Shakespeare and Chaucer. He took what he realized to the PA microphones of brief tracks all through race-car-obsessed New England. The expertise that oozed from these audio system caught the ear of NASCAR president Invoice France, who was kicking across the concept of a radio community that might convey his inventory automobile races to a broader viewers.

“I feel, not less than I hope, that what Invoice heard was one thing totally different,” Squier recalled in a 2013 dialog following his election to the NASCAR Corridor of Fame because the recipient of the Squier-Corridor Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. Sure, that is his identify on the award. “Once we first began discussing what we might do this was maybe just a little totally different was specializing in the drivers. There would at all times be a spot to debate the mechanical features of the automobiles and the race technique, all of that. However in the long run, it needed to be about these heroes behind the wheel and the death-defying stuntmen who went over the wall to pit these automobiles. It is not about metallic and engines and tires; it is in regards to the folks and the tales behind these folks, as a result of they’re exceptional folks.”

So was he.

With France’s blessing, it was Squier who constructed the Motor Racing Community in 1970, with races carried by a set of radio stations that grew from a smattering of southern outposts to a nationwide chain that reached into the a whole lot. He assembled a crew of fellow native racing broadcasters and PA announcers, together with the person who shares prime billing on the Squier-Corridor Award, the satisfaction of Elkin, North Carolina, Barney Corridor.

“So, you took a Vermont Yankee and a North Carolina hillbilly and you set them on the radio collectively to speak about race automobiles,” Corridor recalled in 2013 with a chuckle. “However it labored. And it labored as a result of Ken believed that when you might inform a narrative in a novel means, use totally different phrases, actually take the listener down into the infield, make them really feel like they have been there, then it did not matter the place you have been from. Simply have a look at our groups at MRN and what he had on TV. Broadcasters from everywhere. That made listeners from everywhere really feel welcome on a Sunday afternoon.”

It was by no means sufficient for Squier to easily broadcast NASCAR races and be achieved. He was at all times engaged on a deal someplace. He was instrumental in serving to the sanctioning physique ink its landmark cope with CBS, a partnership that lasted 20 years and commenced with what’s inarguably Squier’s most well-known second: the end of the very first CBS flag-to-flag dwell broadcast, the 1979 Daytona 500.

“And there is a struggle! Between Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison, their tempers overflowing. They’re indignant. They know they’ve misplaced. And what a bitter defeat.”



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