WSLM was recognized Sunday at the Darlington Raceway for being one of eleven radio stations in nine states that have broadcast NASCAR races since 1970 when MRN was founded.
In fact, station owner Rebecca White said WSLM was the longest-running NASCAR station in the Midwest.
“My dad – Don H. Martin – started the station in 1953 and began broadcasting races from the local tracks in Southern Indiana as well as Indy 500 races,” said White. “In 1970 WSLM signed up with the newly-created Motor Racing Network, which was started by NASCAR founder Bill Frances.”
In 1981, when Performance Racing Network was founded, WSLM began a 38-year relationship with them as well to bring 100 percent of all NASCAR racing to the Kentuckiana area.
Motor Racing Network partnered with Spire Motorsports as the sponsor of the No. 77 Motor Racing Network Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, driven by Reed Sorenson, for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
The livery will pay tribute to MRN’s 50 years as “The Voice of NASCAR” and celebrated 11 radio stations who have carried and supported NASCAR racing since the network’s inception.
MRN’s 50 Year Partners:
- WBKR-FM, Owensboro, KY
- WBTR-FM, Carrollton, GA
- WDEV-AM/FM, Waterbury, VT
- WESC-FM, Greenville, SC
- WJCW-AM, Johnson City, TN
- WMMY-FM, West Jefferson, NC
- WMTN-AM, Morristown, TN
- WNDB-AM, Daytona Beach, FL
- WSLM-AM/FM, Salem, IN
- WUSQ-FM, Winchester, VA
- WWGP-AM, Sanford, NC
“Our radio partners are the original ambassadors of Motor Racing Network and this sport,” said Cheryl Knight, Director of Radio Partnerships. “Every one of our 600 stations has played a significant role in MRN’s growth and success. Having 11 stations air our broadcasts consistently since 1970 is remarkable and we were proud to honor them this weekend by placing their call letters on the No.77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet.”
The car finished 30th in the rain-delayed race that ended early Monday morning.
White said she was honored to tour the historic Darlington track and meet drivers, team members and track managers from all around the nation.
“Everyone was here,” said White. “There were so many from NASCAR’s history here for this race. Just being part of the energy at the track, in the stands and in the pits was extremely exciting. The track is only three years older than WSLM – having been built in 1950 and will be celebrating its 70th anniversary next year. WSLM will cross that milestone in 2023.”
While many teams throwed back to “old school” paint schemes and team sponsors, Spire Motorsports felt nothing said “throwback” more than the historic radio network, formed in Daytona Beach, Florida in 1970.
“The Motor Racing Network has brought us all so many great calls over the years”, said Spire Motorsports co-owner Jeff Dickerson. “It’s a true honor to collaborate with MRN and celebrate such an incredible milestone at Darlington Raceway. We all have memorable moments that have been narrated by some of the most iconic voices in the sport. Honoring 50 years of MRN is really special.”
Although it will be a first for the network to call a race with an MRN car in the field, the nostalgia of the Southern 500, made it an easy decision. “We jumped at the opportunity to partner with Spire Motorsports and Darlington Raceway to celebrate Motor Racing Network’s 50th year during the Bojangles’ Southern 500 weekend,” said Chris Schwartz, President, MRN. “The car looks terrific and represents so many talented folks that have worked for, and on behalf of, the network for five decades.”