Wednesday, January 27, 2016

RIP Barney Hall

Legendary #NASCAR Broadcaster Passes Away At Age 83

(L-R) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, Carl Edwards, poses with legendary broadcaster,
Barney Hall, and the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence at the NASCAR
Hall of Fame on February 8, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Streeter Lecka/NASCAR)

Barney Hall, who communicated the thrill of NASCAR stock car racing to millions of radio listeners during a more than 50-year broadcast career has died at the age of 83. 

A native of Elkin, North Carolina, Hall was one of the original members of the Motor Racing Network staff and was known as the “Voice of MRN.” He was inducted into the National Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007 and in 2012 joined former MRN colleague Ken Squier as the initial recipients and namesakes of the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.

“The entire NASCAR family extends its condolences to the family, friends and fans of Barney Hall, a NASCAR broadcasting giant for more than 50 years,” said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. “Barney’s impeccable delivery and incredible storytelling skills left an indelible mark on the sport that he so clearly loved. His legacy remains through an honor that rightly carries his name – the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. It will remain a constant reminder of the skill and passion that Barney brought to his work.”

Hall began his broadcast career in the 1950s working at local radio stations in North Carolina. He served as Bristol Motor Speedway’s first public address announcer and called his first Daytona 500 in 1960.

Hall joined the Motor Racing Network first as a turn announcer and then moved to the booth in the late 1970s, where he had been a fixture until 2014. 

1992: Drivers Rusty Wallace (L) and Dale Earnhardt are joined by Motor Racing Network
broadcaster Barney Hall at the Unocal Darlington Records Club dinner at Darlington
Raceway (ISC Images & Archives via Getty Images/2010 RacingOne)

Hall called a number of the sport’s milestone moments including the landmark 1979 Daytona 500 that featured a post-race scuffle among Bobby and Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough; Richard Petty’s 200th career victory in 1984; and Dale Earnhardt’s 1998 win in the Daytona 500.

Hall’s NASCAR broadcast career began almost by accident. The recipient of free tickets as a local radio personality, he started attending races in the late 1950s. He was offered $75 for a weekend of public address duties at the then-new Bristol Motor Speedway in 1960 and a career was born.

That led to a job with what was known as the Daytona 500 Network, operating out of WNDB in Daytona Beach, Fla. – a forerunner of the Motor Racing Network.

Announcers for the Motor Racing Network get together for a group photograph.
Sitting are (L-R) Mike Joy and Barney Hall. Standing (L-R) are Dr. Jerry Punch,
Dave Sutherland, Mark Garrow and Eli Gold.
(SC Images & Archives via Getty Images/2010 RacingOn)

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