AUTO RACING: NMPA hall of fame

Squier, Hunter, Mattioli join National Motorsports Press Association hall of fame

The Charlotte ObserverJanuary 18, 2013 

— Three of NASCAR’s legends will be the latest inductees tonight into the National Motorsports Press Association’s Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Hilton Charlotte University Place.

This year’s class includes Ken Squier, Jim Hunter and Dr. Joseph Mattioli, with the latter two being honored posthumously.

Ken Squier started offering lap-by-lap commentary in the world of auto racing as a 14-year-old from the back of a logging truck at a stock car dirt race track in Vermont. His father, Lloyd Squier, owned and operated the radio station WDEV based in his home town of Waterbury, Vermont.

When his father passed away, Ken took over ownership and running of the station, which he continues to do today. Ken was the co-founder of the Motor Racing Network in 1969 and worked several years with CBS Sports. Squier contributes to contribute to NASCAR coverage on the Speed Channel.

Jim Hunter, a former USC football and baseball player, started his journalistic career in South Carolina, where he became sports editor of The State. He then moved into public relations and later was appointed track president at Darlington Raceway.

He fulfilled corporate roles with both NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation during his career, remaining an integral part of NASCAR until he died from cancer on Oct. 29, 2010.

Dr. Joseph Mattioli was the founder of Pocono Raceway, which opened in 1971 and hosts both NASCAR Sprint Cup and Truck series races, among others.

Known as “Doc” in the NASCAR community, Mattioli trained as a dentist at Temple. But his passion lay in racing and he supported the sport until his death on Jan. 26, 2012.

Almirola leads Charlotte testing session

Richard Petty Motorsports driver Aric Almirola turned the fastest lap during Friday’s abbreviated NASCAR test session at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Almirola posted an average speed of 194.021 mph. Carl Edwards was second-fastest (193.673 mph) and Casey Mears was third (193.382 mph). Marcos Ambrose and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top five.

The test was originally scheduled for Thursday and Friday, but rain washed out Thursday’s test and melting ice delayed the start of Friday’s.

“I think from the rules, package-wise and specifications for the cars, all of that is pretty much settled down,” Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said.

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