MRN Announcer Spotlight: Buddy Long
By: Jeff Wackerlin - @JWackerlin Twitter and Instagram | MRN.com on June 25, 2014 | 7:00 A.M. EST
Buddy Long will be one of the turn announcers for Thursday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway. (Photo: MRN)
Get to know Buddy Long – Turn Announcer - in this week's edition of MRN Announcer Spotlight.
Q: When did you first become interested in broadcasting?
Long: It was more of the journalistic side. I was writing for my local racetrack when I was 14 or 15 years old and the promoter threw me up into the tower one day when the local radio station announcer couldn’t make it. I was scared to death, at 15 years old, up in that tower. But he was happy enough that two weeks later, I was working there on a regular basis and the rest ... as they say ... is history.
Q: What track was it?
Long: Potomac Speedway, a small dirt track in Budd’s Creek, Md. There are three racetracks there - a drag racing facility, a major motocross track where they have a national event every year and a dirt track, which is probably the least acclaimed among the three.
Q: How did you get involved with the Motor Racing Network?
Long: Several years ago, I was doing public address announcing at Richmond international Raceway and Steve Lowery, who was in scoring with the NASCAR Nationwide Series, stopped by. We were chatting during a break, he had known that I had done some auditions with MRN in the past and asked me what I was doing. I said not a whole lot and he said, "I’m surprised you haven’t said something to MRN." He put in a good word for me with David Hyatt (president and executive producer) and a week later, I was down there doing an audition during All-Star Weekend. About a week later, I was on board.
Q: Where was your first broadcast with the Motor Racing Network and what do you remember about that day?
Long: It was really cool because it was Pikes Peak. That’s a track I wish we were still at. The thing I remember most is being in the turn position, it was 82 degrees outside and half the group was headed back to Denver after the race. Some of us stayed in Colorado Springs. They called to tell us a major snow storm was coming through. We get back to the hotel and were going to dinner, and it was freezing cold. It just tells you how quickly temperatures and the weather can change out there.
Q: Who were some of your broadcasting role models growing up?
Long: One I really looked up to was Bob Jenkins. He did a great job in the broadcast booth. He had such a smooth delivery. Dave Despain is another one. He's a natural at what he does, whether it's motorcycles - which I know are his greatest passion - or any other form of motor sports. He does a fantastic job.
Q: What are some of your early memories of NASCAR?
Long: Beginning to follow NASCAR before cable television came to be. Every Sunday, it was sitting in the living room and turning on a local affiliate. In my case, it was WFLS in Fredericksburg, Va., then listening to Mike Joy and Barney Hall. As they were announcing the starting lineup, I'd write the names out on a piece of paper, and visualize the drivers and where they are on the racetrack by virtue of what I wrote down. I think one of the greatest things that happened in my life is when we had one of our MRN Summits in Daytona Beach, Fla. You hear this so often in life, where people grow up aspiring to be like a Michael Jordan or another famous sports figure ... then you actually get to play with them. For me to work on a broadcast with Barney, and on that day to sit at the Summit right beside a man I idolized, was fabulous.
Q: After working at a short track, how special is it to get the opportunity to shine the spotlight each week on some of the up-and-coming stars in the sport on MRN.com’s “NASCAR Coast to Coast” show?
Long: It’s fantastic! We talked a couple years ago about how to get our "Gen-Y" crowd invigorated and into our sport. I think that's where they are, in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Kyle (co-host Kyle Rickey) has gone to many of those races. I've worked with the World Karting Association and seen a lot of these young drivers at that level, and it's fun to see them step up to NASCAR.
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