Ken Squier

NASCAR America: 50 States in 50 Shows: Vermont

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The final week of NASCAR America’s “50 States in 50 Shows” begins with a look at the state of Vermont and a call from Ken Squier.

Squier is a lot of things. He’s a legendary NASCAR announcer, the co-founder of the Motor Racing Network and as of last month, a member of the 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame class.

But he’s also one of the founders of Thunder Road International Speedbowl in his home state of Vermont.

Squier called into NASCAR America to talk about the 1/4-mile track, which awards the winner of the Milk Bowl Invitational with kissing a cow. I’m sorry, it’s not a cow.

“That is a genuine, Vermont beauty,” Squier clarified. “That’s what we promoted and advertised, that we were going to do our very best, we were sick and tired of all this nonsense about these ‘bimbos’ that would be in victory lane, that we would have  ‘genuine Vermont beauty.'”

The Milk Bowl was once won by the current governor of Vermont, Phil Scott.

Watch the video for the full interview with Squier.

NASCAR America at 5:30 p.m. ET: Michigan recap, debris cautions and 50 States: Vermont

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs for 90 minutes on NBCSN beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Carolyn Manno hosts with Parker Kligerman from Stamford, Connecticut. They are joined by Steve Letarte and Slugger Labbe from Burton’s Garage.

The episode is dedicated to recapping the race weekend at Michigan International Speedway.

Here’s what to expect from the show:

  • Kyle Larson recorded his second straight win at Michigan on Sunday. We’ll hear post-race comments from him and find out what it means to win on Father’s Day.
  • We’ll examine the current Cup Series playoff picture with 11 races remaining in the regular season. Who’s in and who’s out?
  • The Xfinity and the Camping World Truck Series both provided thrilling finishes. We’ll recap the races at Michigan and Gateway Motorsports Park.
  • My Home Track: 50 States in 50 Shows stops in Vermont. Today’s featured track is Thunder Road International Speedbowl. Longtime track owner and newly elected NASCAR Hall of Famer Ken Squier calls in to tell us his fondest memories of “The Road.”

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, you also can watch it via the online stream at http://nascarstream.nbcsports.com

If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5:30 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

and on Facebook

NASCAR America: Legendary announcer Ken Squier gets you ready for Sunday’s big day of racing

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Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with the Monaco Grand Prix. Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500. The final part of the racing tripleheader is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee  Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).

Also, check out the video below as NASCAR America paid tribute to Squier’s long career announcing the sport.

Long: Hall of Fame moment is special for father and son

Photo by Dustin Long
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CHARLOTTE — Sleep has not come easy for Doug Yates in some time.

It has only gotten worse lately.

He can’t stop thinking of his father, Robert, who battles liver cancer. Robert has undergone chemotherapy, but at one point doctors said they weren’t sure what how to treat the 74-year-old former NASCAR team owner and engine builder who was selected to the 2018 Hall of Fame Class on Wednesday.

That helpless feeling of not solving a problem counters what Robert and Doug have done all their lives. If there was an issue with an engine, they worked harder and longer until they fixed the matter.

This they can’t.

While Robert Yates undergoes experimental treatments, Doug is there to help take care of his father. There are bad days, Doug says, wincing.

“What I see is a man who is broken down and built back up because he is watching his father,’’ said Whitney Yates, Doug’s wife. “Sometimes (Robert) is so sick he can’t do anything and Doug is there.’’

They are more than father and son. They share a treasured relationship not every boy and his dad experiences, their bonds woven early and strengthened with each day together.

Doug fondly recalls sleeping on a cot in a race shop when he was about 5 years old while his father worked on an engine through the night. They traveled to races together. Doug reminisces of a trip to Richmond where his father, tired from work, told his son, then 12, to take the wheel while he slept. Yet, when a deer ran across their path, it was Robert who asked his son if he saw that.

They often went to the race shop together. Although family, Robert was still the boss. He would be hard on his son at times, but Doug cherishes even those memories.

Robert was only teaching his son what it took to succeed. Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett won two Daytona 500s and Davey Allison won another for Robert Yates Racing. Jarrett won the 1999 Cup championship with the team. As an owner, Robert Yates won 57 Cup races and 48 poles.

Now, Doug is the boss. He oversees the “vision” his father had of the Roush Yates Engines shop, which powered Kurt Busch to a Daytona 500 win and Ford teams to four other victories in the season’s first 11 races.

“He wants to make (his dad) proud,’’ Whitney said of Doug. “He’s always trying so hard.

“Doug is always moving the bar. I think Robert is so proud of that.’’

While Doug does what he can for his father and the family business, he couldn’t control what happened at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The past three years Robert, Doug and the rest of the family came to the Hall of Fame to see if Robert would be selected. Five are chosen each year. Robert ranked sixth in votes received twice, just missing enshrinement.

Robert Yates reacts after he is announced to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Each time, Robert said the voting panel got it right.

“Selfishly, I didn’t think so, but he did,’’ Doug said. “That was a lesson for me. Everything happens for a reason.’’

As Wednesday approached, Doug Yates’ anxiety grew. It was worse Wednesday morning and throughout the day.

As Doug walked into Hall of Fame, ahead of his father, he conceded he was “nervous.’’

He also was prepared.

Doug stocked multiple tissues in the pockets of his slacks.

“If he didn’t make it, I was going to break down,’’ Doug said of his father making the Hall of Fame. “If he did, I was going to break down.’’

Robert also felt nervous.

“If I don’t get in,’’ Robert told himself before the announcement, “that’s the reason to work real hard to be here next year to get in.’’

The family didn’t have to wait long to celebrate.

Robert Yates, who received 94 percent of the vote, was announced first.

“Wow,’’ Doug said. “I’m glad that’s over.’’

His father, sitting a row in front of Doug, reached back. Doug leaned forward. They held hands. 

After that it was a matter of relishing what had happened as four other men — Red Byron, Ray Evernham, Ken Squier and Ron Hornady Jr. — were selected to join Robert Yates in the next Hall of Fame Class.

Doug stay composed throughout. He wiped his eyes once.

When the ceremony ended, Robert Yates reached his arm around wife Carolyn and embraced her.

“My family means so much to me because they allowed me to work night and day,’’ Robert Yates said. “Do I love engines? Yes, whether one cylinder, two cylinders, six or 12 or 24. I love engines.’’

That passion led him to this moment.

“I feel like I could take a jack,’’ said the former jackman.

“I don’t know if I’ll sleep tonight.’’

Doug Yates will.

His father will be in the Hall of Fame.

 and on Facebook

Announcer Ken Squier elected to NASCAR Hall of Fame (video)

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With 40 percent of the vote, announcer Ken Squier was elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s 2018 class.

Squier, 82, is one of the most iconic voices in NASCAR history.

A co-founder of the Motor Racing Network, Squier is famous for his call of the 1979 Daytona 500 on CBS, which was the first NASCAR race to be broadcast live on TV flag-to-flag. It was Squier who nicknamed the Daytona 500 the “Great American Race.”

Squier called races on CBS and TBS until 1997. For the last two years he has been a regular contributor to NBC Sports’ NASCAR coverage, including calling select portions of the Southern 500.

“It feels pretty darn good,” Squier told NASCAR America. “I announced so many races in so many places and met so many people. That’s the overwhelming feeling. To get this honor from the stock car crowd, that to me is beyond belief because there’s so many others that are doing similar things. So many people who are so committed and so caring about this sport and to think that I’ve been sort of singled out, I’ve never quite understood that.”