Barney Hall, 1932 – 2016
Barney Hall, known as one of stock car racing’s greatest announcers, passed away January 26, 2015 due to complications from recent surgery. He was 83.
The quiet natured and gifted storyteller was born in Elkin, N.C., the place he called home his entire life. After graduating from high school in 1950, he joined the Navy and served four years of active duty. Upon returning home, an audition at a local radio station led to work as a disc jockey at WIFM for 13 years.
Hall first began working as a member of the motorsports media at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in the spring of 1958. Two years later, he was hired as a turn announcer for the 1960 Daytona 500 for WNDB’s race network in Daytona Beach.
The following year, Hall became a track announcer for what was then known as Bristol International Raceway and continued to announce in various venues associated with NASCAR in the years that followed.
With the founding of Motor Racing Network in 1970, Hall joined a team of stellar broadcasters as a turn announcer and began a long and rewarding association. Beginning with the 1979 Daytona 500, he became MRN’s lead anchor in the booth and remained there for the next 35 years. His last call of a NASCAR finish came on July 6, 2014 at Daytona International Speedway where Aric Almirola drove the famed No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford to victory lane. More recently, Hall could be heard on several special broadcasts throughout the year.
Hall’s instantly recognizable voice described many of NASCAR’s of biggest moments, including the 1979 Daytona 500 that featured a post-race altercation involving Bobby and Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough; Richard Petty’s 200th career victory in July of 1984; and Dale Earnhardt’s milestone win in the Daytona 500 in February of 1998.
Hall was inducted into the National Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007. In May 2012, NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame jointly announced the creation of the Squier-Hall Award to honor the media's contributions to the success of the sport. It carried the names of two legendary MRN broadcasters: Hall and Ken Squier, who were also the first recipients.
The National Motorsports Press Association named Hall its Broadcaster of the Year in 2014 and continues to recognize outstanding careers in broadcasting with its Barney Hall Award.
Sprint Recognized For Service To The National Motorsports Press Association
NASCAR Sponsor Receives NMPA Joe Littlejohn Award
DARLINGTON, S.C. – The National Motorsports Press Association has presented Sprint Corporation its annual Joe Littlejohn Award for service to the NMPA.
Sprint, which has sponsored the NMPA’s Most Popular Driver Award since 2014, is entering its 13th and final year as sponsor of NASCAR’s premier racing series.
“It would be hard to understate the contribution that Sprint has made to NASCAR racing and the NMPA,” said Brian Nelson, former NMPA President. “There’s no doubt that Sprint used its vast resources as a leading telecommunications company to lift the NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver Award to new levels of activation and exposure.”
The Joe Littlejohn Award is presented each year to a person, persons or an organization in recognition for outstanding service to the NMPA. The recipient is determined by the President of the NMPA and is named after the former track owner from Spartanburg, S.C.
Littlejohn is credited with two career NASCAR starts, but raced extensively before the formation of NASCAR.
The National Motorsports Press Association is based in Darlington, S. C., where the organization’s Hall Of Fame is established. Visit NMPAOnline.com for additional information.
2015 Champion Kyle Busch Named Richard Petty Driver of the Year Winner
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch, who rallied from injuries sustained in a season-opening crash to capture the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, has been named the 2015 recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association’s Richard Petty Driver of the Year Award.
Busch, 30, suffered a broken right leg and left foot in a crash during the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway last February. After missing the season’s first 11 points races, the driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota returned with a vengeance. He won four of five races, including three straight, during the summer to qualify for NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. In the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Busch beat 2014 series champion Kevin Harvick to win the race and earn his first Sprint Cup championship.
In addition to Homestead, Busch also scored wins at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, Kentucky Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was his first Brickyard 400 title and the fourth for Joe Gibbs Racing.
He finished the season with 12 top-five and 16 top-10 results.
“I just want to thank the National Motorsports Press Association for voting me as the Richard Petty Driver of the Year,” said Busch. “Last year was the most challenging, yet rewarding year of my career. While this honor has my name on it, I don’t think it would have possible without the hard work and dedication from everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota and TRD.
“On the personal side, I can’t thank the doctors and everyone at OrthoCarolina enough for helping me get back into racing shape, but also my wife Samantha and my entire family for all they did to get me back on my feet. Just looking at the list
of past winners, it’s a tremendous honor to have my name mentioned along with many other great champions of our sport.”
In addition to his Sprint Cup success, Busch, a team owner in NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series, also scored six wins in the XFINITY Series and two in the Truck Series.
Others receiving votes were Jeff Gordon (Hendrick Motorsports), Joey Logano (Team Penske), Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing) and Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row Racing).
Busch was presented the award Jan. 17 during the NMPA’s annual convention in Concord, N.C.
The Richard Petty Driver of the Year Award has been presented each year since 1969 and is determined by a vote of the NMPA membership. It is named in honor of Petty, a seven-time champion and the all-time win leader in NASCAR with 200 career premier series victories.
Cain Receives 2015 NMPA Spirit Award
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Veteran motorsports writer Holly Cain has been chosen as the recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association’s annual Spirit Award for 2015.
A resident of Lakeland, Fla., Cain has covered motorsports for more than 25 years during which time she has worked for numerous publications, including the Tampa Tribune, Dallas Morning News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer as well as AOL.com and FOXSports.com. Currently a senior writer for NASCAR.com, she has been recognized for her reporting on multiple occasions, earning awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) as well as the NMPA.
Diagnosed with breast cancer in July of 2014, Cain has shown tremendous courage and an incredibly positive attitude while engaged in her difficult battle. She has been a long-time supporter of the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and continues to participate in fundraising and other efforts to bring awareness to the fight against breast cancer.
The NMPA Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, the NMPA membership selects four quarterly winners, with an overall winner chosen from the four candidates.
Cain was the second quarter recipient of the award. Others recognized with quarterly awards this past year were NASCAR television broadcaster Steve Byrnes (first quarter), IndyCar driver Justin Wilson (third quarter) and four-time premier series champion Jeff Gordon.
Cain was presented the award Jan. 17 during the NMPA’s annual convention and awards dinner in Concord, N.C.
Edwards tabbed for Ken Patterson Award
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Jon Edwards, the long-time public relations representative for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Gordon, has been named the 2015 recipient of the Ken Patterson Helping Others Award.
The award, determined by a vote of the National Motorsports Press Association, was announced at the NMPA’s annual convention Jan. 17 in Concord, N.C.
Edwards, a native of Durham, N.C., has worked with four-time NASCAR premier series champion Jeff Gordon since 2000, first through the agency Performance PR Plus and more recently as a member of Jeff Gordon, Inc.
Prior to his final start as a full-time competitor – Gordon will serve as an analyst during FOX Sports' NASCAR coverage beginning this season – the Hendrick Motorsports driver praised Edwards’ efforts and contributions.
“This guy has been my absolute rock and has been an amazing person,” Gordon said before presenting Edwards with a checkered flag from Martinsville (Va.) Speedway where the driver scored his 93rd victory. “How long have we worked together … 21 years or something? I think everybody knows what a class act he is and how good he is, but he makes me good and I appreciate that.”
Presented annually since 2004, the Ken Patterson Helping Others Award is named after the former director of public relations for Talladega
Superspeedway. The award is presented in conjunction with Talladega Superspeedway and recognizes a public relations representative in the motorsports industry (team, track, and sanctioning body) who has exhibited the kind, generous qualities that Patterson always demonstrated.
Talladega Superspeedway, co-presenter of the award, donates $1,000 in the winner’s name to the Kenneth Patterson Educational Trust Fund each year.
Also receiving votes for this year’s award was Lisa Hughes Kennedy (GOLIN/Toyota NASCAR PR).