Most of the people who know me immediately identify me as “the crazy NASCAR fan.” Well, they are right to do so because I am a crazy NASCAR fan and always have been.
It is that crazy fandom that has led me to be a broadcast major, so that I can pursue a career as a NASCAR reporter. It is the job I always dreamed of having, and one year ago I first got the chance to live that dream.
Last October the radio station Thunder 92.7, put a microphone in my hand and sent me out into the garages and pit road at Talladega, and my life has never been the same since.
This past weekend was my third time reporting at ‘Dega, and in many ways it was the most important trip yet. First of all, because I had done two prior races, more was expected of me than ever before. There was no more room for rookie mistakes. Also, I am graduating soon and applying for internships and jobs, so I really needed to do well and make the best possible impression on the radio station owners and other reporters so that I can count of some good references. The pressure was high, but luckily for me this weekend was everything I had hoped it would be and more.
On Friday, I got to cover two Sprint Cup practice sessions and The Camping World Truck Series qualifying. Saturday, we covered Sprint Cup qualifying, and on Sunday we did pre-race coverage.
When we cover these events, the radio station expects us to report on any action happening in the garages, on pit road, and on the track, but our most important job is to get interviews. No one wants to hear us talk all day; listeners want to hear from the drivers, crew chiefs, and owners.
The hardest part for me is getting up the courage to walk up to these people that I’ve watched and admired on TV for my entire life and talk to them. But I do it. Luckily, a lot of these drivers are much nicer than you’d think. All of the Camping World Truck drivers were very friendly; I got some great interviews from Ty Dillon, Matt Crafton, Joey Coulter, and others.
A lot of the Sprint Cup people were very nice to me too; I had some great interviews with drivers Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, and others; crew chiefs Chad Knaus, Steve Addington, and Bootie Barker; and team owner Rodger Penske.
Of course, there’s always some that are not going to treat you very nicely; a couple of drivers gave very sarcastic interviews, and several just would not talk to me at all. My biggest surprise of the weekend, however, was Kurt Busch.
Kurt has a history of not being very nice to the media… and, frankly, I was a bit scared of him, but he was actually very nice to me and gave me two great interviews this weekend! I am a much bigger fan of him after meeting him.
My experiences as a pit road/garages reporter have been quite an experience. There have been a few disappointments; some of the drivers that I have looked up to my whole life are much less awesome in real life. However, there is much more positive than negative; there are drivers and crew chiefs that I have a whole new respect for after meeting them and seeing how they
I’ve also came out of this experience with a lot of new friends, several pieces of wrecked racecars, and a lot of hope for the future. It’s not everyday that a girl gets to live out a dream.