I want to talk about Barney Hall and just what he did for me. I grew-up in Elkin, NC and my late father and I had the privilege of knowing Barney well. In fact, my dad had an side business of electrical contracting and we did the electrical construction on Barney's A-Frame house where he still lived when he died. Barney assisted us with getting pit passes and tickets to North Wilkesboro Speedway many times.......where we met drivers like Benny Parsons, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough and a car owner by the name of Junior Johnson......and all through Barney.
Most people didn't know the real Barney. He was a quiet and humble man that drove and old red and white Ford truck for years. He also had a couple of 1967 Mustangs that he cherished. He really loved his mother and took care of her until the day she died. I would often be driving on the street by his mom's house and see Barney mowing the yard on a Monday after a race. He loved tearing down old houses and re-using the wood to build other things. He liked to play golf and go flying. Often, one would catch him at the little restaurant on Swan Creek Road, just across from his Par 3 golf course, eating breakfast in the mornings.
Barney believed in people and he believed in me. When I told him I wanted to work in racing, he talked to me about it and then made one phone call. A couple of weeks later, I had a job with the title sponsor at the time. Later, Barney would make another call for me, and once again I was working for one of the major teams in the 1980s.
This man was well-respected in the sport and in the community in general. For over 50 years, he was the voice we all listened to when we couldn't find the race on television. He had a way with words that would make a picture come to life. He also had this same gift when just talking to someone outside of racing. He never acted conceited or arrogant.....that just wasn't his way.
Yesterday, I listened to many programs on satellite radio that commented about Barney and his legacy. They did a great job, but his legacy cannot be even summarized in just a day. I also watched NASCAR Race Hub, where they remembered Barney at the first of the show. But, I am disappointed that more of the show was not dedicated to the life of Barney Hall, as he certainly deserves it.
I've also seen a few articles on NASCAR.com that were pretty good. But again, Barney deserves much more........especially from NASCAR. This man spent over 50 years of his life telling the NASCAR story and to millions of people. NASCAR should do more in memory of Barney and race fans should demand it. The legacy of Barney should be honored all throughout 2016, much as it was done when Dale Earnhardt, Sr. passed away. Barney helped make this sport what it is today. He made it where people wanted to go to races and learn more about them.
There's a video tribute on MRN.........well done MRN. It will bring tears to your eyes. I hope that this video will be put on YouTube so there will be a lasting memory of a man who was absolutely the BEST at what he did.
To those that got to work with him, you all are so lucky. Mike, Eli, Winston, Allen, Adam, Dave, Joe, Mike, Pete and the list goes on. I can only imagine the impression he made, as I know what an impression he made on me.
The one thing I'm gonna miss most is one knew it was time for the racing season to begin when you heard, "Good afternoon from Daytona International Speedway, this is Barney Hall reporting for MRN".
On late Tuesday evening January 26th, I'm sure that God was saying, "Out of turn 4, they're coming to the stripe and Barney Hall dives to the inside and wins the race".
Godspeed Barney! And THANK YOU for everything you did for my late father and I. Those who did not know you on a personal level really missed something.