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Best Broadcast Calls in NASCAR History

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An iconic call by a commentator can make a sports moment even bigger. Tell any baseball fan, “The Giants win the pennant”, or tell any hockey fan, “Mayday”, and they will know exactly what you are talking about. NASCAR is no different, and some of its’ biggest moments have made for some iconic calls.

10. “Slide Job” – Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2018 Overton’s 400

The 2018 Overton’s 400 at Chicagoland Speedway was Dale Earnhardt Jr’s first race in the booth, and he said something that no one would soon forget. Heading into turn two on the last lap Earnhardt Jr. said the simple phrase “Slide Job.”

While it did turn into a bit of a meme, it showed the passion that Earnhardt Jr. had for the sport right from the first race. There is nothing quite like a commentator who is as excited about what is going on on the race track as the average fan is.

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9. “Keep Your Foot in it” – Darrell Waltrip 2009 All-Star Race

Again, a phrase that turned into a bit of a meme, but the way that Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip carried these two laps is awesome. Just like the previous Dale Earnhardt Jr. call, it may not be the most “Sophisticated” or “Professional” call. However, it is exactly what you want a call to be, exciting.

For that moment, and for most of their run in the booth together, it felt like Waltrip and McReynolds were more than just commentators. They were fans just like you and me on Saturday night.

8. “Jeff Gordon, Winner of the Inaugural Brickyard 400”- Bob Jenkins 1994 Brickyard 400

This race was like a fairy tale. An Indiana boy who grew up dreaming of winning at Indianapolis gets his chance to race, and he goes out and wins.

Bob Jenkins is one of the best motorsports commentators of all time, and the way he handles this is absolutely perfect. NASCAR at the Brickyard for the first time was a big deal, and being the first stock car driver to win at Indianapolis was a highly coveted title. Jeff Gordon got that title.

7. “Harvick By Inches” – Mike Joy 2001 Cracker Barrel 500

Kevin Harvick in his third start after replacing the late Dale Earnhardt was on his way to a win late. The only one that stood in Harvick’s way was Earnhardt’s rival, Jeff Gordon.

Mike Joy, a man who is typically more laid back in the booth, raised his voice for this moment, and was it ever appropriate. Again, Joy, Waltrip, and McReynolds were more than just commentators, they were fans. What they were seeing was incredible, and they could do nothing but be excited.

6. “Make Room Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt” – Rick Allen 2016 Ford 400

As Rick Allen continues along his career, he is beginning to build his fair share of great calls. Even amongst the personalities of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Steve Letarte, and Jeff Burton, Allen still finds a way to stand out. The most historical moment Allen ever got to call was the Jimmie Johnson’s seventh championship, and he absolutely nailed it.

5. “There’s the Checkered Flag for Alan” – Bob Jenkins 1992 Hooters 500

Bob Jenkins again was nothing short of spectacular during this race. He had an incredible amount of energy alongside Benny Parsons and Ned Jarrett, yet Jenkins still maintained enough poise to make a concise and great call at the end of the race.

Alan Kulwicki winning the Cup Series championship was nothing short of incredible. Jenkins made sure the audience knew how incredible that was, but at the same time, he knew the real star of the show was Kulwicki.

4. “20 Years of Trying” – Mike Joy 1998 Daytona 500

There may have not been a more tense finish to a NASCAR race than the finish to the 1998 Daytona 500. Dale Earnhardt was in his 20th try, and something seemed to go wrong every single time.

Joy, like the professional he is, kept himself well-composed during the final few laps, while never wavering in energy. Off of the final corner, Joy solidified himself amongst the great NASCAR commentators with how he called Earnhardt to the line to finish the 1998 Daytona 500.

3. “Have You ever? No I have never!” – Mike Joy/Darrell Waltrip 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400

It’s rare that a phrase from a race could be used more than once, but the NASCAR on FOX team found one at the end of the spring race at Darlington in 2003. In typical FOX fashion, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds seemed like more than commentators – they were fans.

To finish everything out, Mike Joy said what everyone in NASCAR was probably thinking, “Have you ever?” Waltrip responded by saying, “No I have never.” It was not the final time that this trio would use this phrase, but it will always be remembered for this race.

2. “Lessons learned from his father” – Allen Bestwick 2001 Pepsi 400

When I said the 1998 Daytona 500 had the most tense final laps, the 2001 Pepsi 400 may be the only race that rivals it. It was NBC’s first race with the commentary crew of Allen Bestwick, Benny Parsons, and Wally Dallenbach.

Bestwick recalled how Dale Earnhardt Jr. looked like his father Dale Sr. The way Bestwick called Jr. home, similar to Mike Joy, solidified his place amongst the best of the best in NASCAR broadcasting.

1. “Hey There’s a fight!” – Ken Squier 1979 Daytona 500

The way Ken Squier called the final laps of the 1979 Daytona 500 was like listening to a great poet write his best work. The creative use of words and the way he handled the camera crew not knowing where Richard Petty was is the mark of an incredible broadcaster.

Also, how often do you see “Hey there’s a fight” on social media whenever there is a fight in NASCAR? Sure it was a simple phrase, but it is what people remember about the race. That day, Ken Squier set the standard for NASCAR commentary.

There is nothing like an incredible broadcaster’s call. They can add so much to an incredible moment in any sports. NASCAR has been spoiled with some pretty incredible commentators and moments in its’ years.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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