Ken Squire, one of the key figures of NASCAR’s exponential growth from the late 1970s to the 2000s, has passed away at the age of 88. The legendary radio and television broadcaster had battled numerous health battles over the last few years.
According to a post from SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s Dave Moody, Squire took his final breath at 8:20 PM ET on Wednesday, November 15th.
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Jim France issued a statement on the passing of Squier.
“Though he never sat behind the wheel of a stock car, Ken Squier contributed to the growth of NASCAR as much as any competitor. Ken was a superb storyteller and his unmistakable voice is the soundtrack to many of NASCAR’s greatest moments. His calls on TV and radio brought fans closer to the sport, and for that he was a fan favorite. Ken knew no strangers, and he will be missed by all. On behalf of the France family and all of NASCAR, I offer my condolences to the family and friends of Ken Squier.”
Squier was an integral component in getting the 1979 Daytona 500 aired flag-to-flag on CBS. Squier pleaded his case to the executives at CBS, and after some convincing, the executives agreed to it.
The end result was one of the most epic live events in NASCAR history as Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison crashed while battling for the lead on the final lap of the race, Richard Petty went on to score the win, as Yarborough encountered a fistfight with the Allison brothers in the infield.
Due to a large snowstorm, which had a large portion of the East Coast stuck inside their houses, NASCAR reached millions of people, who had never seen a race before. They became hooked, and the sport skyrocketed in popularity.
On Thursday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. explained in a post on X that he’s convinced that the 1979 Daytona 500 wouldn’t have been nearly as successful as it was if it weren’t for Squier being on the call that day.
“Ken Squier was there when NASCAR was introduced to the rest of the world in 1979 for the Daytona 500,” Earnhardt said in his statement on X. “I’m convinced that race would have not had its lasting impact had Ken not been our lead narrator. We still ride the wave of that momentum created on that day. Ken’s words and energy were perfection on a day when NASCAR needed it. I am forever grateful for his major role in growing stock car racing. RIP”
Ken Squire left his mark on the racing world, and the sport of NASCAR wouldn’t be the same without his iconic voice guiding the ship on television and radio during a pivotal time in the sport’s history.