Top-Five NASCAR TV Announcers of All-Time

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports /
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  1. Jim McKay

The famous name behind ABC’s Wide World of Sports actually had a big part to play in the growth of NASCAR. Jim McKay was of course the leading man behind the leading sports anthology program on broadcast television for decades, and it holds the distinct honor of being the one of the first programs to broadcast the Daytona 500, beginning in 1962. In total, McKay would be the lead play-by-play man for five Daytona 500 races between then and 1978.

Of course, over the years the production of the 500-mile race changed dramatically. Early on, ABC showed highlights of the race the week after, with McKay and other commentary added in post-production. But by the 1970s, the popularity of auto racing in the United States was growing, warranting semi-live coverage on the network, with Wide World of Sports joining the race past halfway, with highlights of the first half included.

McKay’s legacy stretches far beyond NASCAR or motorsports, as his Wide World of Sports program transformed how much of the sports world was covered and grew the now ever-hungry American appetite for live entertainment. But he does hold the distinct honor of being the first and last announcer for the Great American Race on ABC.

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