In the days when ESPN didn’t have TV rights for NASCAR races, Mike Massaro conducted post-race interviews with drivers for SportsCenter while standing in a suit and tie at windy and dusty helipads outside racetracks.
These days, as a host and reporter for ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now, Massaro works from either a comfortable studio or with full access to drivers and newsmakers inside racetracks.
It’s been quite a change for Massaro, who has been with ESPN since 2001 and has worked in motorsports since 1994.
He’s earned numerous industry awards for his work, but a presentation this past weekend ranks as high on his list as anything he’s accomplished.
Only a few miles from where he began his broadcasting career as the public address announcer at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway as a teenager, Massaro received a special honor Oct. 22 when he was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame for his hometown of Manchester, Conn.
As his 33 guests looked on, Massaro was introduced by Matt Buckler of the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, a journalist who has documented Massaro’s career with numerous stories over the years.
“It’s very special when your hometown recognizes you,” Massaro said.
“There were a number of people in my induction class whose accomplishments were so impressive to me, and I was incredibly honored to be in their class. Growing up, you see a lot of things happen in the world of sports and there’s lots of things that you admire, and you never think that you’ll be at the same level as some of these people. So to be recognized like that, is not only an honor, but somewhat of a surprise.”
Massaro became the fourth person inducted into the Manchester Hall for accomplishments in broadcasting, joining Boston-area sportscaster Mike Adams, New York-area sportscaster Mike Crispino and Dr. Dick Berggren, a NASCAR reporter for Fox.
“I feel like I’m in pretty good company,” he said.
“Somehow I was lucky enough to get on a track in the world of sports that put me in a position where other people were actually impressed with what I do, and I never thought that would be the case,” he said.
“I was humbled and honored, and it’s something I’ll never forget.”