Auto Club Speedway is saddened to learn that pioneering motorsports journalist Norma Lee “Dusty” Brandel has passed away at the age of 87.
Brandel’s career as a motorsports journalist began in 1955 as a writer for the Hollywood Citizen-News and she covered sports car races throughout Southern California. In 1972, at Ontario Motor Speedway, Brandel became the first woman to cover a NASCAR race from inside the garage and was honored by the NASCAR Hall of Fame with the Squier-Hall Award for Media Excellence in 2018.
“Dusty not only was a trailblazing journalist, she was also a dear friend of Auto Club Speedway and of many within the racing community throughout Southern California and beyond,” said Auto Club Speedway President Dave Allen. “Our condolences go out to her family and friends during this difficult time.”
Brandel covered the first races at Auto Club Speedway in 1997, and she also worked in press information at other Southern California tracks throughout her career. In addition to her recognition from the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Brandel received the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) Angelo Angelopolous Award in 2001. She also served as president of AARWBA and was a board member of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.