Thursday, December 6, 2012
Three men who spent their careers making outstanding contributions to the sport of auto racing will be inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association’s Hall of Fame in January.
Longtime NASCAR executive and former track president Jim Hunter and Pocono Raceway founder and patriarch Dr. Joseph Mattioli will be inducted posthumously and will be joined by pioneer sportscaster Ken Squier as the class entering the Hall during a ceremony on Jan. 19 in Charlotte, N.C.
The three were selected on more than 65 percent of the ballots cast by NMPA members to earn induction into the Hall of Fame. Hunter was selected on 89 percent of the ballots, while both Mattioli and Squier were on 65 percent of the ballots.
Hunter started his career as a journalist in South Carolina, then moved into the public relations field with grace and tact, eventually rising to the role of track president at Darlington Raceway. Hunter, one of the most trusted friends of longtime president Bill France Jr., then took on corporate roles with NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. and remained with NASCAR for the rest of his life.
Mattioli founded Pocono Raceway in the early 1960s, a unique 2.5-mile facility that has hosted NASCAR events since 1974. Mattioli was a hands-on track operator, embracing drivers, crews and media members as part of his track family each time the race came to town. Keeping fans in mind, he worked to stay on top of enhancements and led NASCAR into a new era by building a solar energy system on 25 acres of the track’s property to make it a leader in environmental fields.
Squier, a native of Vermont, began his racing career as a track announcer at the age of 14. One of the original founders of Motor Racing Network, he later became a fixture in the broadcast booth for CBS. Squier continues to be a part of racing through his radio station in Vermont and the Thunder Road track he built in his home state.
Those who received votes but did not reach the 65 percent mark for induction were Ray Evernham and Dick Thompson.
The National Motorsports Press Association was formed more than 40 years ago. It features motorsports writers, broadcasters and photographers from throughout the U.S. and abroad.