Father Put Massaro’s Career in Gear
|By Brian Danko, Staff Writer
The New Britain Herald & Bristol Press
the time that Mike Massaro was 16 years old, he had a clear vision of what
he hoped to do after college. He wanted to be a sports announcer. He
graduated from the prestigious Emerson College in Boston with a bachelor’s
of science degree in speech, but no television job.
“When I got out of college I knew everyone didn’t get a chance to do this.
After I graduated, I was bartending and one day my father took me aside
and said ‘look, I spent good money to send you to Emerson and I didn’t
spend it for you to become a bartender. You need to get a job.’”
Massaro’s father was a crew member on Bob Garbarino’s No. 4 modified that
raced weekly at the Stafford Motor Speedway and he told him to go to
Stafford and volunteer to announce.
Massaro said he remembers sheepishly going up to Jackie Arute, Jr.
following a drivers meeting at Stafford just before the Spring Sizzler and
asking him if he could announce.
“I was nervous going up to him. I had no experience but he said ‘can you
start next week?’ I was blown away.
“I learned so much working at Stafford. I learned the business side of
racing from Mark Arute, (CEO of Stafford) and how a track operates, and I
learned a lot working in the announcer’s booth from Jackie. I remember
that Jack was telling us things that you might see on sports shows,”
Massaro said from his home in Ellington, after growing up in Manchester.
Massaro worked for free as a track announcer, but then they promoted him
to the paid position of public relations director, where he served the
half mile oval in that capacity for three years.
It was that weekly experience working as one of the announcers at Stafford
that helped propel Massaro to where he is now.
Massaro, now 42, has been employed at ESPN for the past 12 years, and to
listen to the former Stafford Speedway announcer and public relations
director, he would be happy to retire from there.
“I hope to retire at 65 and if I could spend the rest of my life working
here, I would love that. I am doing exactly what I wanted to do and I am
part of an exciting future at ESPN.”
Massaro is the host of NASCAR Now, one of the daily staples of ESPN’s auto
racing programming after doing a stint back on pit road.
Massaro has also worked in racing as a reporter for MRN (Motor Racing
Network) radio. He also reported for Inside NASCAR on TNN and was a pit
reporter for NBC as well as TBS NASCAR races.
Massaro thought back to one of the first times he was calling a race as a
reporter at Stafford and was reporting the action from turn three and how
he had the Stafford announcing legends of Mike Joy and Jackie Arute, Jr.
in the announcer’s tower.
“You talk about being nervous. Both these guys were doing national
broadcasts and here I had to do a report from turn three and then send it
back to them,” Mike said, now laughing but thinking how terrified he was
at the time.
When Massaro was asked about the talent the Stafford Speedway announcers’
booth has turned out, he shakes his head.
“It really is pretty amazing.”
Mike Joy is now the lead announcer for NASCAR on FOX, while Jackie Arute,
Jr. has broadcast many races, being closely associated with the
Indianapolis 500, as well as doing college football and other sports for
ABC. He currently is host of a college football show on satellite radio as
well as doing an NFL wrap-up show on Sundays.
When asked if he prefers working in the studio in Bristol or working at
the track as one of the pit road reporters, Massaro said he likes a little
“I like being part of the action at the track. Being on pit road you have
to be prepared for anything, where as if you are in the studio, you really
don’t have any surprises. It is pretty well scripted what we are going to
Growing up in the northeast and being surrounded by the NASCAR modified
division and its stars, Massaro is clearly one of the series’ biggest
“The modifieds will always be my favorite division in NASCAR racing. In my
opinion, they are the most exciting division in racing today.”
Massaro was recently inducted into his hometown’s sports Hall of Fame as
well as being inducted into East Catholic High School’s Hall of Fame,
something that he is quite proud of.
Massaro now is another of the Stafford connection to make it big as a
racing announcer and he continues to build on his own legacy.
Wherever Massaro continues to go and accomplish in his career, he will
always remember the talk his father gave him and how his Stafford days
propelled him to do what he set out to do when he was 16.