June 24, 1932
Died: January 26, 2016 (Age 83)
Born in: Elkin, NC
Racing Network, formerly callingNASCARraces.
Hall has commentated races for over 50 years.Hall is
considered as one of the best NASCAR commentators of
MRN directorDavid Hyattstated,
"Motor Racing Network is ‘The Voice of NASCAR’ and Barney
Hall is the voice of MRN."
was born atElkin,
serving four years in theUnited
States Navy, Hall's career started in the 1950s working for
local radio stations in Elkin, particularly atWIFM-FMfor
13 years.He became
the first person to work on the public address system atBristol
Motor Speedway, which was stated as "dumb luck".WhenMotor
in 1970, Hall became a turn announcer, before becoming a
booth announcer. Hall has commentated all but threeDaytona
career, and in the1979 edition, Hall introduced his
catchphrase, "flag-to-flag coverage of The Great American
2007, he was inducted into theNational
Motorsports Press Association(NMPA)
Hall of Fame.
On May 23, 2012, theNASCAR
Hall of Fameannounced
the creation of the Squier-Hall Award for Media
Excellence, named for Hall and former MRN reporterKen
Squier.On July 5,
2014, Hall announced that theCoke Zero
Daytona would be his final broadcast.
Barney Hall: 1932-2016
By: MRN Staff on January 26, 2016
STATEMENT FROM DAVID HYATT /MOTOR
RACING NETWORK PRESIDENT
is with heavy hearts and deep sadness that Motor Racing
Network must today convey the passing of our friend and
colleague, long-time MRN anchor Barney Hall. For many of us
in the racing and broadcasting industries, Barney was more
than just ‘The Voice’ who brought us the NASCAR action each
week on the radio. He was an inspiration, a teacher and
mostly, a friend. Barney was a consummate professional whose
style and honesty made him one of the most revered voices of
the sport and perhaps the most trusted reporter of his day.
“In a world that can have its share of egos, Barney’s humor
and humility kept everyone around him firmly grounded. His
smooth and easygoing delivery was the mark by which others
were measured. His co-anchor, Joe Moore, once commented that
‘Barney was the calming force in the midst of a raging storm
and simply by listening to him, you knew there was safe
passage through it.’ Barney Hall was the true voice of
NASCAR and although his own voice has gone silent, his
presence will live on in the many current motor sports
broadcasters who learned at the knee of such a great
CONCORD, N.C. - Hall of Fame broadcaster Barney Hall, a
cornerstone of MRN’s NASCAR coverage since the network’s
founding in 1970, died Tuesday from complications following
a recent medical procedure. He was 83.
At the time of his death, Hall was in the company of
long-time companion Karen Carrier – the love of his life.
Hall was born on June 24, 1932, in Elkin, N.C., the town he
called home his entire life. After graduating from high
school, he joined the Navy and served four years of active
duty, during which Hall launched his radio career. He would
return to his hometown and work as a disc jockey at radio
station WIFM for 13 years.
Hall was widely known for his calm voice and unmatched
storytelling. He was part of MRN’s award-winning race
coverage since the network’s debut in 1970. Prior to that,
Hall served as Bristol Motor Speedway’s first public address
announcer, called his first Daytona 500 in 1960 and missed
only four broadcasts in the 57-year history of "The Great
One of those was the "500" won by Matt Kenseth in 2012, when
illness sidelined Hall. But as NASCAR returned to
Martinsville Speedway one month later, fans once again heard
a comforting, familiar voice over the airwaves.
Barney was back in the booth.
Hall remained an integral part of the network's NASCAR
coverage throughout the next two years. On July 6, 2014, he
worked his final race - calling Aric Almirola's
rain-shortened win at Daytona International Speedway, which
returned the iconic No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports entry
to Victory Lane.
voice was heard on a number of special broadcasts in the
months that followed. The National Motorsports Press
Association named Hall its Broadcaster of the Year in 2014.
He and MRN producer Darrell Smith teamed up to win another
NMPA award in 2015. Barney was inducted into that
organization's Hall of Fame in 2007.
In May 2012, NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame jointly
announced the creation of a new award to honor the media’s
contributions to the success of the sport. It carried the
names of two legendary MRN broadcasters: Barney Hall and Ken
Squier, who were also the first recipients.
Hall was recently recognized by the Motor Racing Network
with an appreciation award for his 45 years of service.
Mr. Hall is survived by Karen Carrier, the love of his life
for 35 years (1981-2016), an aunt and several cousins.
The Motor Racing Network family wishes Barney Hall Godspeed.
for his work
He was 83
first as a
moved to the
booth in the
July 5, 2014
Zero 400 at
as a local
races in the
in 1960, and
$75 for a
That led to
a job with
known as the
out of WNDB
of the Motor
Hall of Fame
You may not
it was ‘made
met him or
one of your
tell you a
story – the
story of the
race he was
tell a story
was not just
is the most
in NASCAR by
many of whom
you hear on
Hall of Fame
one of the
ever of any
sport; and I
one of my
live in our
Barney Hall left an indelible mark on
NASCAR and broadcasting
·Ryan McGee --
ESPN Senior Writer
Hall wasn't ready to go.
He thought he was. The radio man had traveled the world
as a youngster in the Navy. He'd traveled the United
States as a broadcaster, chasing and covering the NASCAR
circuit. He'd seen so much more than he could have ever
expected as he grew up in Elkin, North Carolina, a
hamlet of barely 4,000 people sandwiched in the hills of
Wilkes County, where moonshiners first birthed stock car
On this particularly rough summer day somewhere over
southern Michigan, Hall had been telling the story of
that life to a fellow broadcaster, former race car
Brooks, in his trademark denim overalls, had recently
joined the team at the Motor Racing Network, the
national NASCAR network that Hall helped start in 1970.
Hall and Brooks were hitching a ride to Michigan
International Speedway in a plane being flown by racing
and Pearson was still really new at flying.
Then lightning struck the plane. As they attempted to
land, pitched about by the wind, another bolt struck a
water tower at the end of the runway. Hall yelped and,
as Brooks always swore, scratched up the windows in
desperation to get out of the private plane.
"It turns out," Pearson recalled with a laugh, "Barney
was not quite ready to go yet."
"Not that day," Hall replied. "I didn't have a ticket."
On Tuesday morning, he was ready. Hall passed away at
83, after years of battling various medical conditions.
Some will no doubt call it a silencing of a great voice.
But his voice was more than great. It was a unique blend
of North Carolina foothills dialect trimmed with just
enough touch of old school radio broadcaster flair, his
only professional training coming via the Navy and as a
disc jockey at his hometown station, WIFM in Elkin.
Even in his later years, there was warmth in Hall's
aging tone that never failed to cut through the endless
noise that comes with life at the racetrack. It was the
perfect pitch to complement a gentleman who could also
cut through the shells that often come with the men who
make their living on that racetrack.
"People ask me all the time, Barney, how do you get
these guys to talk to you or to trust you enough to tell
you how it really is? Well, it's really not that
complicated," he explained nearly 20 years ago to me, a
young and awestruck TV producer who'd struck up a
conversation in the Daytona International Speedway
garage. I was working my first Daytona 500. Hall was
working his 36th. "Sure, there's something to be said
about these guys being country guys and me being one,
too. But there's also nothing wrong with doing your job
with class and dignity. If they know I'm being genuine
with them, they know they can be genuine with me."
That's how Hall became such great friends with some of
NASCAR's most notoriously guarded personalities, his
lifelong friendship with Pearson being exhibit No. 1.
Everyone got a fair shake, even those at the far end of
the garage who struggled to keep up with the superpowers
week-to-week. Whenever an underdog managed to sneak into
the top 10, they'd receive Hall's trademark "Give a call
to (fill in the blank) ... "
In 2009, when the family of fellow beloved broadcasterBenny
Parsonsorganized a Moonshiners and Revenuers
Reunion in Wilkes County, they asked Hall to be the
emcee. He stood on a makeshift stage in between two rows
of rocking chairs. The first group consisted ofJunior
other bootleggers-turned-racers. The second was made-up
of the retired government agents who used to chase them.
"They asked me to moderate this because I'm the only
person up here who has never dealt in illegal alcohol
distribution ... as far as you know," Hall deadpanned.
"Besides, if a fight does break out up here, we're all
so old now it would look like a slow-motion replay of a
That relateability is also how he became such a beloved
broadcaster, his voice soothing its way from turns and
press boxes and garages through speakers in cars, trucks
and transistor radios from coast to coast.
He was auto racing's answer to Red Barber or Vin Scully.
While others shouted over the action, he described the
action as if he was reading us all the greatest bedtime
"You give me too much credit for that," he said to me
during an interview in 2011. "I would probably talk
faster than I do if I could. But this is just Elkin
I can still hear Barney's bass as it whirred through the
big wooden console cabinet stereo in our family
improbable rain-soaked win at Richmond in 1982. My
father had been on Dave's pit crew a decade earlier and
we cheered as Hall called it.
A couple of years later, I stood with my grandfather as
Hall's voice ricocheted off the aluminum walls of
Pa-Pa's work shed, listening as local hero Parsons, a
poster of whom hung by the radio, earned what would be
his final career win, holding offDale
But can we really use the word silenced? No. Never. Not
even in death. We'll still hear Barney Hall's voice
whenever we go to Bristol Motor Speedway, where he
started as a public address announcer. We'll still hear
it on YouTube, where Barney Hall tributes keep popping
We'll hear it on satellite radio, where the NASCAR
channel still plays classic MRN broadcasts. We'll hear
it whenever current broadcasters win the NMPA
Broadcaster of the Year, which is named for Hall, or
when media members are honored by the NASCAR Hall of
Fame, a medal which is co-named for Hall and of which he
was the first co-recipient.
And we'll hear it forever in the voices of the
broadcasters he took under his arm, both the MRN Radio
team of today and alums who are scattered across every
sports network in your channel guide.
Me? I'll hear Barney loudest whenever I go to
Martinsville Speedway. That's where he shocked me just
four years ago, in the spring of 2012. Just a few weeks
earlier he'd missed only his second Daytona 500 in
decades, this time due to his failing health. The
reports were not good. I'd tried to reach out to him,
but had no luck. We all feared the worst. Then, sitting
in the Martinsville media center on a Friday afternoon,
I felt a tap on my shoulder.
"Hey, young man, get up out of that chair and let this
old man sit down for a minute," he said.
Immediately, he launched into stories. He told me about
the first race he ever covered, right there at
Martinsville as a young radio man.
He told me a story about a train conductor who got fired
because he couldn't help but stop along the backstretch
to watch a Martinsville race and in the process mucked
up train traffic along the entire eastern seaboard.
And he told me about the motel that used to be across
the street from the speedway, where he once stomped out
of his room in the wee hours of the morning to complain
about all the noise out by the swimming pool and saw "Curtis
Weatherly, all these future Hall of Famers,
running around out there totally buck naked ... can you
Yes, I could. Because Barney Hall said it was so. He
stood up to leave and shook my hand.
"I'm doing OK," he assured me, thanking me for my
concern and explaining that he'd be back in the MRN
booth that Sunday.
"I wasn't ready to go quite yet. I didn't have a
Just a crazy thought.... Barney Hall was the Barney Oldfield of Broadcasting....
Both never to be equalled.