Norma ‘Dusty’ Brandel receives seventh Squier-Hall Award
Norma ‘Dusty’ Brandel was honored during 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony festivities January 19, 2018 and will be featured in an exhibit in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In addition to her long career reporting on motorsports for Southern California newspapers, (see NASCAR Press Release below), Dusty was also an on-line motorsports pioneer. She was on-line in 1979 with the then-fledgling CompuServe Racing Information Service to provide motor sports news on a real-time basis worldwide. By Sept. 1, 1983, that service evolved into Tap-CIS, the Auto Racing SIG and later into The Motor Sports Forum. The service initially relied on volunteer reporters and phone calls to race tracks to get racing results, later creating a cadre of top professionals and talented amateurs.
The initial 2017 announcement press release and 2018 induction ceremony follow:
INITIAL ANNOUNCEMENT PRESS RELEASE:
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 30, 2017) – NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame today announced legendary motorsports reporter Norma “Dusty” Brandel as the seventh recipient of the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.
A media staple in motorsports for more than six decades, Brandel started her career in 1955 as a writer for the Hollywood Citizen-News before joining both the San Fernando Sun and Valley View and Glendale News-Press. Her career also included several stints in press information at Southern California tracks, including Whiteman Stadium.
She covered her first NASCAR race at Ontario Motor Speedway in 1972. There she became the first woman to report from inside the NASCAR garage. She received the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) Angelo Angelopolous Award in 2001.
Brandel will be honored during 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony festivities and featured in an exhibit in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“As the first woman to report from inside the NASCAR garage, Dusty Brandel blazed a trail for generations of reporters who followed her lead,” said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. “Though she was a pioneer for female journalists, that fact soon became just a footnote in an exemplary career – her journalistic talents and her dedication throughout a more than six-decade career far transcended gender. We look forward to honoring her with the well-deserved Squier-Hall Award.”
Today, Brandel resides in the Los Angeles area and serves as the president and executive director of AARWBA and is a board member of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.
Brandel was among eight nominees voted upon by a panel comprised of NASCAR and NASCAR Hall of Fame executives, journalists, public relations representatives and former competitors. The Squier-Hall Award was created in 2012 to honor the contributions of media to the success of the sport. Legendary broadcasters Ken Squier and Barney Hall, for whom the award is named, were its initial recipients. Chris Economaki, Tom Higgins, Steve Byrnes and Benny Phillips have since won the award.
The other seven nominees were:
Russ Catlin, one of the best-known early racing writers and historians, served as editor of Speed Age Magazine.
George Cunningham, covered NASCAR for a variety of outlets, including the Charlotte Observer, the Atlanta Constitution and NASCAR Scene.
Shav Glick, covered motorsports for the Los Angeles Times for 37 years, bringing NASCAR coverage to the West Coast.
Bob Jenkins, served as the lead NASCAR lap-by-lap anchor at ESPN from 1982-2000.
Bob Moore, spent more than 20 years as a NASCAR beat writer including stints with the Daytona Beach News-Journal and The Charlotte Observer.
Taylor Warren, best known for his three-wide photo of the 1959 Daytona 500 finish, he covered every Daytona 500 until his death in 2008.
Steve Waid, covered NASCAR for more than 40 years for the Roanoke Times & World News, NASCAR Scene and NASCAR Illustrated.
January 19, 2018 PRESS RELEASE
2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Honors Five NASCAR Legends
January 19, 2018
Byron, Evernham, Hornaday, Squier, Yates Officially Enshrined
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 19, 2018)– Five NASCAR icons – two drivers, a crew chief/owner, an engine builder/owner and a broadcaster – were enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, tonight during the Induction Ceremony held in the Crown Ball Room at the Charlotte Convention Center.
Red Byron, Ray Evernham, Ron Hornaday Jr., Ken Squier and Robert Yates make up the ninth class of The NASCAR Hall of Fame, which now holds 45 inductees.
A pioneer of the sport, Red Byron won the first NASCAR race at the Daytona Beach Road Course in 1948. That year, he went on to win NASCAR’s first season championship in the NASCAR Modified division. The next season, Byron won NASCAR’s first Strictly Stock title – the precursor to today’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Byron achieved these feats despite having to drivespecial brace for his left leg, which he injured serving in the Air Force during World War II.
In the 1990s, Ray Evernham paired with Jeff Gordon to rewrite the NASCAR record books. Evernham guided Gordon to three championships in four seasons (1995, ’97, ’98). The pair collected a series-high 47 wins in the 1990s, taking the checkered flag in two Daytona 500s (1997, ’99). A skilled innovator, Evernham’s ‘Rainbow Warriors’ pit crew revolutionized the modern pit stop. He won 13 times as an owner and led the return of Dodge back to NASCAR in the 2000s.
“I stand here tonight before you very humble, very thankful, and very grateful to be a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame,” Evernham said. “Martin Luther King said that if a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep the streets as Michael Angelo painted or as Beethoven composed music. He should sweep the street so well that the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, there goes a great sweet sweeper. And I read that quote a long time ago, and I realized the best way I could pay back everyone who believed in me was to work hard and be a good street sweeper.”
Ron Hornaday is statistically the greatest driver in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history. The Californian boasts a record four Truck Series championships and won 51 races. He also tops the series annals with 158 top-five finishes. In 2009, Hornaday won five straight races, a feat matched by only two other drivers in NASCAR national series history.
“This is for every short track racer that ever had a dream, ever had a heart, ever believed in anything that you can believe in, this is it … the Hall of Fame,” Hornaday said.
Few broadcasters in any sport could weave words together like Ken Squier. He is best known for calling the 1979 Daytona 500 on CBS, providing the play-by-play for the first live flag-to-flag coverage of “The Great American Race” – a moniker he coined. Following that event, Squier called races on CBS and TBS until 1997 before shifting to the studio as a host for NASCAR broadcasts until 2000. He founded MRN Radio in 1970.
“In our sport, there are innovators, builders, advocates, challengers, heroes, and an announcer now and then, who all have a part to play,” Squier said. “This is always a thank you time speech, so many to deal with. Some of us are inconceivably lucky to call these folks friends. I think we all call them heroes. And I'm feeling like an odd duck in a flock of fancy geese, let me tell you.”
A dual-threat, Robert Yates’ excelled in engine building and team ownership. He provided the engines that powered Bobby Allison to his 1983 championship and Richard Petty to his 200th win. He launched his own team – Robert Yates Racing – in the 1980s. As an owner, he won three Daytona500s, and the 1999 premier series championship with Dale Jarrett. Overall, his team claimed 57 victories.
Yates lost a tough fight to cancerlastOctober, but wrote his acceptance speech before he passed. The highlight of the night was a video of Jarrett reading the words of his late team owner.
“I never prayed to win a race, I just prayed for the wisdom to help me make good decisions,” Yates wrote. “My creator didn’t always give me what I asked for, but he gave me more than I deserved.”
Each of the five inductees had an inductor who officially welcomed them into The Hall: Winston Kelley (Executive Director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame) for Red Byron; Ray J Evernham (son) and Jeff Gordon (former driver) for Ray Evernham; Wayne Auton (former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Managing Director) for Ron Hornaday Jr.; Phil Scott (Vermont Governor) for Ken Squier; and Edsel Ford (member of the board of directors for Ford Motor Company) for Robert Yates.
Active and former drivers introduced each inductee during tonight’s program: Martin Truex Jr. for Red Byron; Ben Kennedy for Ray Evernham; Kevin Harvick for Ron Hornaday Jr.; Dale Earnhardt Jr. for Ken Squier; and Brad Keselowski for Robert Yates.
In addition to the five inductees enshrined today, Jim France was honored as the fourth recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.
France, the chairman of the board for International Speedway Corporation, began working in the NASCAR industry as a teenager in 1959, learning all aspects of the business from his father, NASCAR Founder Bill France, Sr. France founded the GRAND-AM Road Racing Series in 1999. In 2012, he led the merger of GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series, forming the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA).
“No one deserves this award more than Jim France,” said France’s niece, ISC CEO Lesa France Kennedy. “He is the epitome of what the Landmark Award represents.”
Prior to tonight’s Induction Ceremony, trailblazing motorsports journalist Norma ‘Dusty’ Brandel was awarded the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.
Brandel became the first woman to report from the NASCAR garage when she covered her first race at Ontario Motor Speedway in 1972. She reported on NASCAR for more than six decades for several papers,including: the Hollywood Citizen-News, San Fernando Sun and Valley View, and Glendale News-Press. She serves as president and executive director of the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association.
About the NASCAR Hall of Fame
Conveniently located in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is an interactive, entertainment attraction honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR. The high-tech venue, designed to educate and entertain race fans and non-fans alike, opened May 11, 2010, and includes artifacts, hands-on exhibits, a 278-person state-of-the-art theater, Hall of Honor, Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, NASCAR Hall of Fame Gear Shop and NASCAR Productions-operated broadcast studio. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from April 1 through Oct. 31 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Nov. 1 through March 31. An attached parking garage is available on Brevard Street. The 5-acre site also includes a privately developed 19-story office tower and 102,000-square-foot expansion to the Charlotte Convention Center, highlighted by a 40,000-square-foot ballroom. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is owned by the City of Charlotte, licensed by NASCAR and operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. For more information, visit nascarhall.com.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States. NASCAR consists of three national series (the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR Xfinity Series™, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™), four regional series, one local grassroots series and three international series. The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit www.NASCAR.com and www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (‘NASCAR’). For race tickets, visit www.NASCAR.com/tickets.
Dave Chess has been writing for RIS since the late 1980s during the CompuServe days. His work has also appeared in Auto Week magazine, Chicago Gearhead News newspaper, ATA airlines in-flight magazine, National Speed Sport News and on many websites.