Mike Joy Biography

American sports announcerFor the New Zealand freshwater ecologist, see Mike Joy (freshwater ecologist).

Michael Joy (born November 25, 1949) is an American TV sports announcer and who currently serves as the lap-by-lap voice of Fox Sports' coverage of NASCAR. His color *ysts are Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer. Counting 2021, Joy has been part of the live broadcast of 44 Daytona 500s (7 for MRN Radio, 17 for CBS and 20 for FOX). He also serves as expert *yst for live TV coverage of collector car auctions.

Contents

  • 1 Biography
    • 1.1 Early life and career
    • 1.2 CBS Sports and The Nashville Network (1983–2000)
    • 1.3 Fox Sports (1998–present)
    • 1.4 Honors
  • 2 Notable calls
  • 3 Terminology
  • 4 Personal life
  • 5 References

Biography

Early life and career

Joy was born November 25, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois to M. Verne Joy and Jean Peters Joy, the oldest of their four children. He was raised in Windsor, Connecticut, and graduated from West Hartford, Connecticut's Conard High School. His career began as a public address announcer at Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam, M*., in 1970 while attending the University of Hartford and later Emerson College.

He added Thompson Speedway in 1972 and in 1975 began working at Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut, joining Jack Arute, Jr., the son of the track owner, establishing the track as a hotbed for announcers. Announcing five nights per week, he was noticed by Motor Racing Network (MRN) co-founder Ken Squier. MRN hired him as a freelancer in 1975, then full-time in late 1978, working weekdays in marketing for Daytona International Speedway. He rose to co-anchor, general manager and executive producer of MRN in January 1980. In 1981, he was the lead broadcaster for ESPN's first live NASCAR telecast in that November's Atlanta Journal 500 at Atlanta International Raceway.

CBS Sports and The Nashville Network (1983–2000)

In June 1983, Joy became a pit reporter for CBS' coverage, working with Ken Squier and Ned Jarrett. Since CBS didn't broadcast many races, he also continued to broadcast for MRN radio.

Joy also launched The Nashville Network's NASCAR coverage in 1991, as lap-by-lap announcer, continuing through 1995, and also participated in live NASCAR coverage on TBS. When NASCAR went to Indy, Joy anc*d the IMS Radio Network live coverage from the first Brickyard 400 in 1994 through 1998.

Joy was one of the first announcers to embrace the Internet. In 1997, he encouraged Usenet and Jayski readers to e-mail TV coverage suggestions that he could present in a CBS seminar. A member of many Usenet newsgroups, he read them for preparation for broadcasts.

In 1998, after 15 years on pit road, CBS Sports made Joy their lap-by-lap announcer with Ken Squier becoming the studio host, where the pair worked until the end of 2000, when CBS lost the rights to televise NASCAR racing.

Joy's CBS career included most major forms of American motorsports for television: Formula One, CART, IRL, and drag racing, as well as coverage of college football, the Winter Olympics, the Sun Bowl, harness racing's Hambletonian, Pro Beach Volleyball and World Cup Skiing, plus NCAA championship events in soccer, gymnastics, swimming and diving, track and field, lacrosse, and wrestling.

Fox Sports (1998–present)

Joy joined Fox Sports in 1998 to become the lead announcer of Formula One coverage on Fox Sports Net, with Derek Bell as expert *yst.

For the 2001 season, he moved full-time to Fox with the NASCAR TV package. Joy teamed with Hall of Fame driver Darrell Waltrip and former crew chief Larry McReynolds to form the network's broadcast team. The 2021 Daytona 500 was his 21st as lead TV race announcer, and the 45th Daytona Speedweeks in which he has been part of live broadcast coverage.

Joy, Waltrip, and McReynolds completed 15 years together in 2015, the longest tenure of any three-man announcing booth in US network sports television history. Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon joined Joy and Waltrip in the FOX-TV booth beginning 2016, with McReynolds moving to a new role as race strategist and rules *yst. On June 23, 2019, Waltrip retired from television. NASCAR Cup driver Clint Bowyer joined Joy and Gordon as FOX returned to a three-man booth for 2021.

Fox broadcasts the Daytona 500 and the first 16 NASCAR Cup races each season, plus two all-star events. Joy also anchors NASCAR Cup coverage on Fox-owned cable network Fox Sports 1 (FS1), formerly Speed.

Four weeks every year, Joy brings his extensive knowledge of collector cars to the Barrett-Jackson auction block as lead *yst for the live TV auction coverage. His unscripted commentary mixes detailed knowledge of the cars and their specs with first-hand recall of how cars of the 1950s to 1970s were viewed back in their day. When the TV rights moved to Velocity/Discovery beginning 2015, Joy was the first talent Discovery hired to lead their broadcast team in the same role on loan from Fox. Beginning 2020, the Barrett-Jackson TV rights moved to A&E Networks' History and FYI channels, with Joy continuing in the lead expert role.

In September 2008, Fox sent Joy to call a Minnesota Twins/Tampa Bay Rays Major League Baseball game, in which the Rays clinched their first-ever playoff appearance.

Joy is very active on social media; his Twitter handle is @mikejoy500. He engages in many automotive web forums, from El Camino to MGs to Ford GTs, usually using the screen name "200mph".

Honors

Joy is a charter member of the prestigious NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, and in December 2013, was named sole media representative to the Hall's exclusive nominating process.

In 2019, Mike was named to the voting panel for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame.

On November 10, 2019, Joy was inducted into the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame.

In March 2014, a Sporting News poll named Joy first among network television's 15 NASCAR announcers and *ysts with a 93% approval rating.

Joy was voted the 2011 recipient of the Henry T McLemore Award, now the American Motorsports Media Award of Excellence. Presented since 1969, this award celebrates career excellence in motorsports journalism and is voted on solely by past winners. The Motorsports Hall of Fame at Daytona International Speedway displays a wall of plaques honoring the winners, with smaller displays in several track media centers.

In 2000, Mike was inducted into the Riverside Park Speedway Hall of Fame.

He is a member, and past vice-president of the National Motorsports Press *ociation.

Notable calls

February 15, 1998 – Joy was the lap-by-lap announcer for CBS Sports' coverage of the Daytona 500, where he called Dale Earnhardt's win after his 20th attempt to win the Great American Race.

"20 years of trying, 20 years of frustration. Dale Earnhardt will come to the caution flag to win the Daytona 500! Finally, the most anticipated moment in racing! If John Elway can win the Super Bowl, Dale Earnhardt said he can win the Daytona 500, and if he comes around under caution to complete this final lap, the taste of long awaited victory will be his. Checkered flag! Dale Earnhardt finally is a champion of the Daytona 500!"

February 18, 2007 – Joy was the lap-by-lap announcer for Fox's coverage of the 2007 Daytona 500, where Kevin Harvick made a last lap p* on Mark Martin to win by 0.02 seconds in a photo finish. Joy's call of the final lap:

Joy: White flag, one lap to go!
*yst Larry McReynolds: Front four , single file.
*yst Darrell Waltrip: Here they come, they got to go – they got to get Mark moved. They got to move him somehow.
McReynolds: He gets back to that yellow line right around the bottom, all the way through turns 1 and 2.
Waltrip: Mark Martin is driving the race of his life. And there's nobody that's better at holding people off at Daytona.
Joy: Kyle Busch lying back a little bit. Is he gonna get help? Is he gonna come? Is he looking? Almost- he almost squeezed Harvick into the wall, and here comes Harvick, the 29 with Matt Kenseth!
Waltrip: Oh, Mark got loose. Mark got loose.
McReynolds: And Harvick's getting a run off turn 4! It's gonna be a drag race all the way back to the start-finish line! (Kyle Busch spins off turn 4, causing multi-car wreck) No caution! They're side by side right to the line!
Joy: Big crash, here they come. Checkered flag. HARVICK!
McReynolds and Waltrip (over Joy): HARVICK!
Joy: Kevin Harvick wins the Daytona 500!
McReynolds: We got one car on his ROOF coming across the start-finish line, Clint Bowyer!
Waltrip (over McReynolds): They're still wrecking. They're still wrecking. They're wrecking everywhere. Bowyer's on fire. Jeff Gordon's wrecked.
McReynolds: And they are still wrecking.

September 20, 2008 – Joy was the play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports's coverage of the game between the Minnesota Twins and the Tampa Bay Rays, where the Rays clinched the team's first playoff berth in franchise history. Joy's call of the final out:

"Fly ball, left field... CAUGHT! Bottom fishers no more! The Rays are going to the playoffs!"

May 5, 2013 – Joy was the lap-by-lap announcer for Fox's coverage of the Aaron's 499, where David Ragan pulled off to win on a last lap p*. Joy's call of the final lap:

Joy: (Jimmie) Johnson looked high, (Matt) Kenseth to draft with Edwards. Johnson to the bottom, (Aric) Almirola to the top!
Waltrip: Man, Matt got shuffled out again!
Joy: Jimmie Johnson with Carl Edwards, but Kenseth up the middle coming back! Help from David Ragan! Up to the bumper of Carl Edwards! Ragan in the middle, his teammate (David) Gilliland is the pusher. They're right on the bumper of Edwards... is there anywhere to go? Ragan to the bottom, Gilliland with him!
Waltrip (over Joy): Look at Ragan!
Joy: David Ragan, July winner at Daytona couple of years ago, Gilliland with him! Edwards up top! Michael Waltrip to help, and here they come off turn 4!
Waltrip: Push boys, push! Push hard!
Joy: Edwards high, Ragan comes up, covers the spot.
Waltrip (over Joy): Gilliland! Gilliland has got him! He's got him!
Joy: Ragan and Gilliland! Front Row Racing is going to victory lane at Talladega! Ragan first, Gilliland second! How about that!

Terminology

Silly Season: Joy brought the term to Nascar during his MRN radio days. "Henry N. Manney used the term frequently in Road & Track to describe the early fall, when there is rampant rumor and speculation about driver/team pairings for the following Formula 1 season. I borrowed it for our broadcasts," Joy said. As the radio feed was carried in the press box, writers there quickly adopted the term.

Vortex Theory: Joy's unproven "theory" whereby a large group of high-powered race cars circulating an oval track create a rising column of hot air, which repels rain-producing cloud formations. Though debunked repeatedly by meteorologists and scientists, anecdotal evidence abounds where rain would begin just after a race ended or was slowed by a caution flag. Joy first promoted this "theory" on race telecasts in the 1990s. When he aired it on FOX in 2001, broadcast partner Darrell Waltrip championed its cause. Waltrip popularized Vortex Theory on air to the extent that many drivers and fans think DW invented it. Though still scientifically unproven, evidence to support it continues to build.

Personal life

Joy resides near Winston-Salem, North Carolina with his wife Gaye. They have a son and daughter in college. He restores vintage MGs, and retains his New England roots as CEO and equity partner in New England Racing Fuel Inc., distributor of Sunoco Race Fuels.

Joy is an accomplished sports car racer, winning races at Lime Rock, Pocono, Watkins Glen, and New Hampshire, and has competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, America's premier endurance race. Joy is well known as TV host of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. In August 2012, his drive in Historic Trans-Am at Laguna Seca was awarded the Bonham's Cup, and in September 2013, he won an Historic Trans-Am race at Lime Rock.

He previously developed special events advertising for GM's Pontiac Motor Division, including auto racing and a Hall & Oates rock tour, and managed and promoted a major auto racing facility, Lime Rock Park.

Joy was elected to four two-year terms on the Windsor, Connecticut town council, where his committee was responsible for health, public safety and environmental issues for Windsor's 28,000 residents.

References

    Former commentators
    • Dick Berggren (2001–2012)
    • Steve Byrnes (2001–2015)
    • Mark Garrow (2001–2006)
    • Darrell Waltrip (2001–2019)
    • Matt Yo* (2001–2020)
    • Jeanne Zelasko (2001–2006)
    • Chad Little (2002–2006)
    • Rick Allen (2003–2014)
    • Ray Dunlap (2003–2016)
    • Hank Parker Jr. (2003–2006)
    • Krista Voda (2007–2014)
    • Kenny Wallace (2007–2018)
    • Danielle Trotta (2010–2016)
    • Hermie Sadler (2011–2019)
    • John Roberts (2014–2018)
    • Alan Cavanna (2015–2020)
    • Andrew Doud (2015–2016)
    • Chris Neville (2015–2017)
    • Ralph Sheheen (2015)
    • Brian Till (2015)
    • Jeff Gordon (2016–2021)
    • Kevin Lee (2017–2018)
    • Kim * (2019)
    • Ricky Craven (2019–2020)
    • Lindsay Czarniak (2019–2020)
    • Dave Rieff (2019–2020)
    • Sara Walsh (2019)
    • Dillon Welch (2019)
    • Glenn Jarrett
    • Randy LaJoie
    • Rick Mast
    • Jim Tretow
    Music
    • Scott Schreer
    • "NASCAR Love"
    • "With Arms Wide Open"
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