NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame announced legendary motorsports reporter Norma “Dusty” Brandel as the seventh recipient of the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.
A media staple in motorsports for more than six decades, Brandel started her career in 1955 as a writer for the Hollywood Citizen-News before joining both the San Fernando Sun and Valley View and Glendale News-Press. Her career also included several stints in press information at Southern California tracks, including Whiteman Stadium.
She covered her first NASCAR race at Ontario Motor Speedway in 1972. There she became the first woman to report from inside the NASCAR garage. She received the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) Angelo Angelopolous Award in 2001.
Brandel will be honored during 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony festivities and featured in an exhibit in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“As the first woman to report from inside the NASCAR garage, Dusty Brandel blazed a trail for generations of reporters who followed her lead,” said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and CEO. “Though she was a pioneer for female journalists, that fact soon became just a footnote in an exemplary career – her journalistic talents and her dedication throughout a more than six-decade career far transcended gender. We look forward to honoring her with the well-deserved Squier-Hall Award.”
Today, Brandel resides in the Los Angeles area and serves as the president and executive director of AARWBA and is a board member of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.
Brandel was among eight nominees voted upon by a panel comprised of NASCAR and NASCAR Hall of Fame executives, journalists, public relations representatives and former competitors. The Squier-Hall Award was created in 2012 to honor the contributions of media to the success of the sport. Legendary broadcasters Ken Squier and Barney Hall, for whom the award is named, were its initial recipients. Chris Economaki, Tom Higgins, Steve Byrnes and Benny Phillips have since won the award.
The other seven nominees were:
Russ Catlin, one of the best-known early racing writers and historians, served as editor of Speed Age Magazine.
George Cunningham, covered NASCAR for a variety of outlets, including The Charlotte Observer, The Atlanta Constitution and NASCAR Scene.
Shav Glick, covered motorsports for the Los Angeles Times for 37 years, bringing NASCAR coverage to the West Coast.
Bob Jenkins, served as the lead NASCAR lap-by-lap anchor at ESPN from 1982-2000.
Bob Moore, spent more than 20 years as a NASCAR beat writer including stints with the Daytona Beach News-Journal and The Charlotte Observer.
T. Taylor Warren, best known for his three-wide photo of the 1959 Daytona 500 finish, he covered every Daytona 500 until his death in 2008.
Steve Waid, covered NASCAR for more than 40 years for the Roanoke Times & World News, NASCAR Scene and NASCAR Illustrated.