1970 is known for some pretty historic events. The inaugural New York City Marathon was run. Earth Day was created. The Blue Flame rocket car broke the land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats by topping 622 mph. And in 1970, the Motor Racing Network broadcasted its very first Daytona 500.
On the broadcast that day legendary broadcasters Ken Squier and Barney Hall described, what many consider to be the first race in NASCAR’s modern era, the action as Pete Hamilton held off David Person to claim his first and only Daytona 500 victory. The broadcast that day was heard on dozens of radio stations from Florida to Vermont and Indiana to the Carolinas.
Fast forward 50 years to this Sunday, February 17th at 1:30 pm ET, MRN will broadcast our 50th Daytona 500 and the 61st running of The Great American Race on over 400 radio stations nationwide. Sunday’s race also marks the culmination of over 30 hours of programming produced by MRN during Daytona Speedweeks, NASCAR’s annual kickoff at Daytona International Speedway.
The broadcast is the first event in a two-year celebration of the founding of the network by Bill France, Sr. and Ken Squier in 1970. Our content plans include 50 Years of the 500special which aired earlier this week and a 50th Anniversary of MRN episodic podcast. We will dig deep into the archive all season long to feature compelling content in our broadcasts and we will celebrate the eleven stations that have been with the network since that first broadcast representing over 500 years of NASCAR on radio:
- WBKR, Owensboro, KY
- WBTR, Carrolton, GA
- WDEV, Waterbury, VT until recently owned by MRN founder Ken Squire
- WESC, Greenville, SC
- WJCW, Johnson City, TN
- WMMY, Boone, NC
- WMTN, Morristown, TN
- WNDB, Daytona Beach, FL fondly considered as our MRN flagship station
- WSLM, Salem, IN
- WUSQ, Winchester, VA
- WWGP, Sanford, NC
WSLM’s Owner and General Manager Rebecca White said “The midwest has a strong history in racing and WSLM has been there with a lot of the smaller tracks since 1953. We are proud to have been broadcasting NASCAR races since 1970 and hope to continue into the future as long as NASCAR continues.”