Norma “Dusty” Brandel was born on September 29, 1934, to Leila and Charles Brandel.
She was a lifelong resident and dedicated member of the Burbank community.
Norma embarked on her remarkable career in motorsports journalism in 1955 as a writer for the Hollywood Citizen News, covering car races all over Southern California. When she was encouraged to use a “gender neutral” name to avoid the roadblocks that existed for female journalists at the time, the name “Dusty” was born.
She was the president of American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association and enjoyed her many trips to the Indianapolis 500 hosting the annual AARWBA dinners. She served as president of the Los Angeles Press Club and was a board member of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.
In 1972, she was the first woman to receive a press credential to report from inside a professional NASCAR garage area and she was inducted to the NASCAR Hall of Fame as a recipient of the Squier-Hall Award for media excellence in 2018. In recent years she worked as the history factotum for the Burbank Association of Realtors.
Dusty passed away at home on February 27, 2022. Her professional and personal journey influenced and inspired many. She is blessed to be survived by many valued friends, colleagues, cousins, companion Michael Bishop, her niece Christie and two grandnephews.
A celebration of her life is being planned for next month. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Nascar Foundation or the Burbank Temporary Aid Center (BTAC).