The National Motorsports Press Association has inducted three big names in NASCAR into their hall of fame. Ken Squier, Jim Hunter and Joseph Mattioli are the three names. All three are well deserving of being inducted.
Ken Squier was the lead commentator for almost all NASCAR races from 1979-2000 and called the most famous race in NASCAR: The 1979 Daytona 500 and Ken also coined the term “The Great American Race” for the daytona 500. His voice was one of if not the best voice NASCAR has ever seen commentating the races. His voice made the races sound like a real challenge to the drivers and danger was lurking around every corner. Ken also helped develop the in car camera for the 1982 Daytona 500. Believe it or not it was also Ken Squier who started the trend for announcers saying “side over side” when cars get upside down and flip. It really would be great to see the 77 year old make a comeback and announce a few more NASCAR races. That would definitely increase ratings.
Jim Hunter also helped bring NASCAR to mainstream. He was part of Bill France Jr’s “inner circle” as you could call it and sometimes helped make decisions for him. He even helped counsel and mentor some drivers like Kevin Harvick, Juan Montoya and Tony Stewart as they adjusted to the Sprint Cup Series. Hunter was the public relations director for Darlington and Talladega and then moved to become NASCAR’s vice president of administration in 1983. Jim Hunter lost his battle with cancer in 2010 at the age of 71.
Joesph Mattioli was the president and founder of pocono raceway. Pocono is one of the few tracks left on the NASCAR circuit that is not owned by either Speedway Motorsports Inc, or International Speedway Corporation but instead is still owned by the Mattioli family. Mattioli died almost one year ago on January 26th 2012.
These three guys certainly helped pioneer the NASCAR that we see today and its great to see them honored for it.