The following is a statement from NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelley on the passing of Ken Squier.
“First and foremost on behalf of the NASCAR Hall of Fame team, I want to offer our most sincere condolences to Ken’s wife Elizabeth, daughter Ashley Jane, son Travis and the entire Squier family on the passing of Ken Squier.
Ken’s contributions to and accomplishments in NASCAR are incalculable. The breadth and depth of his legacy cannot be overstated. Demonstrations of this range from co-founding Motor Racing Network with NASCAR Founder Bill France, Sr.; to convincing CBS executives to televise what became one of NASCAR’s most pivotal moments in the 1979 Daytona 500 as NASCAR’s first nationally-televised race flag-to-flag; to his iconic calls and commentary for more than seven decades on both radio and television; to being arguably the very best storyteller in our sport’s history to owning and promoting the renowned Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Vermont for 57 years. There is little in NASCAR that Ken Squier did not impact.
While perhaps best known for his memorable last lap and postrace descriptions of the 1979 Daytona 500, he had the incomparable ability to so effectively articulate the human side of all NASCAR competitors. Among his signature phrases, used at just the right time, was “common men doing uncommon things” which helped audiences and we mere mortals understand the unique skills, risks and gravity of manhandling a 3,400 pound racecar at speeds in excess of 200 mph with 39 other snarling competitors entrenched around one another.
Whether you had the pleasure to meet him or not, race fans felt like they knew him. He was trusted and respected in the garage area just as much as he was relied on by millions of fans to cover the action on the track and stories off the track.
Ken achieved one of the ultimate compliments for his life’s work, which honored his commitment to the sport, when NASCAR named the award for media excellence presented annually at the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony after him along with another legendary broadcaster and former colleague, Barney Hall. Ken and Barney were the inaugural recipients of the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence in 2013. That was followed by the highest achievement in NASCAR in 2018 when Ken was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and became the first and only full-time media member to date to be inducted in our sport’s shrine.
Ken is known to have mentored more current and past media members than anyone in the history of NASCAR and I count myself as one of those fortunate to have learned at the feet of the master. NASCAR has lost one of the true pioneers in developing and growing NASCAR, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame team and I have lost a cherished friend. His legacy, influence and legendary calls of NASCAR racing will live in our minds, our hearts, our archives and at the NASCAR Hall of Fame forever.”