August 4, 2018
#42 Kyle Larson Official Reporter
I had the privilege and honor to have full media credentials for both the Chicagoland and Kentucky races; if you follow me you would have seen some of my tweets and postings. I would like to personally thank Chicagoland Speedway and Kentucky Speedway for granting me the credentials and for hosting two great races.
The reason for this article is to share with you my emotions, thoughts and experiences of a fan with credentials. It is not something that the average person experiences. I have been thinking about this article for some time, sorry for my delay in getting it out there, but I didn’t know what angle I wanted to report from. Then it hit me…just do it!!
Chicagoland was my first time with credentials… media center, hot passes, Victory Lane and even the broadcast booth. Yes, nervous as heck does not accurately describe how I felt. I have been attending races since the 3rd year of racing at Chicagoland. I knew the layout; I was familiar with where everything was and how to get where I needed to be. It made me a tinge at ease. But I had a voice repeating in the back of my mind – what should I do, where should I go, and what should I cover?
I was informed that I could not ask for autographs since I was part of media. Immediately my heart sank – I have been following NASCAR from the days of Wide World of Sports, collecting memorabilia and connecting with drivers for autographs has always been a highlight of those years. Heck, I have a quarter panel and a tire with a rim mounted on my family room wall. I stood on the bricks at the Brickyard right outside of Victory Lane with Jimmie Johnson when he, Chad Knaus and their entire crew were celebrating with champagne. This experience had to be different – I was media…
A few weeks before the Chicagoland race I reached out to a professional, one of the hardest working, dedicated and personable media reporters that I knew and asked for their advice (I would like to keep this person anonymous as they are a true professional, I do not have their permission to mention their name and this is not part of their job to coach newbies in the field) What should I do? Where should I be? What should I cover? I was hoping for a response, but doubted one as reporters are busy and are constantly on the road. No response was received….
On Wednesday, June 28th, I got up extra early and drove to Chicagoland Speedway just to pick up my credentials. I was too excited to wait until Thursday when I would actually use them. I walked into the credential trailer and was like wow – this is actually happening. As nervous as I was I managed to sign my name to the forms and to the media and hot passes. No sooner did I get into my SUV was I taking pictures of them emailing my husband and son. Another feeling came over me – slight disappointment as my husband, son and I have had some of the best NASCAR experiences together. Now I will be going places and doing things without them.
My first task at Chicagoland was to attend the Kyle Larson interview in the media center on Thursday….
My notes read as follows: It is 6/29 at 1:45 p.m. I feel relieved as after walking up and down each row in the media center I found my name. Yes, I have a name plate – ok it is actually a white sticker with my name handwritten on it – incorrectly I must add, but I had a spot. Quickly I sat down and immediately took out my notebook and pen as I sat there waiting for the interview to begin. Nervous still as I peered around looking at all the “professionals” in the room approximately 30-35 of them; it dawned on me, I am the only person without a laptop – oh no, I immediately felt a wave of heat from my head to my toes – what am I doing here?
I took a few deep breaths and started Tweeting – ok I will just look busy. Took another look around observing what I was in the middle of – Row 6 middle row, seat 6; 5 seats away from the driver’s and interviewing stage. In my observation I noticed professional reporters from all media sources – radio, newspapers, local and network TV stations and once again my heart pounded rapidly. The expression of a minnow swimming in an ocean describes what I was feeling. Kyle Larson #42 Credit Bank Chevrolet, Christopher Bell #20 Rheem Toyota Xfinity Series and Vince Welsh were due to speak with Chase Elliott the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet to follow.
The first three discussed the upcoming Eldora Speedway race. It was announced that Kyle Larson was going to be set up in the booth broadcasting and Christopher Bell was going to pit report. Vince Welsh said that the first time they met was at a dirt track. Larson discussed his feeling about reporting, he was excited but nervous about it. He has been doing his homework trying to learn everything about dirt. Christopher Bell added that he was studying pit reporters and he hopes to add his insight to the race.
Larson did go on to say and a very important comment, his job is to be as unbiased as he can be – he can’t pick favorites. Bell went on to say that as the face of media he has to be factual and he is really nervous about that. Welsh joined in and told them to be who they are. He advised them to say what they have to say to make the fans feel like they are sitting with their buddies. Bell added that this will be different as he would not be actually reporting live pit stops but rather what lines the drivers are running. HMMM…unbiased, factual, adding insight – wow, that is what I had to be.
Even though one of my favorite drivers, Larson was sitting no more than 10 yards from me I couldn’t run up to him with marker and memorabilia in hand asking him for an autograph or trying to follow him to his trailer.
Soon after the discussion of Eldora the microphone was turned on for questions – oh geez, I have a ton of them I would like to ask Larson, I even rehearsed them in my head. My hand did not go up nor did I make eye contact with the announcer. I felt none of my questions were worthy and again I was just that minnow. A couple of questions were answered by the panel of three. For instance how does Larson race the Posse, the Posse is a passionate group of fans that can get on our nerves as they root for the local drivers and they are very confident in their drivers. Hmm I learned something… yep my question was not by any mean professional.
The next question thrown out there was how do they feel about driving other cars with the recent tragedy of Sprint Car driver, Jason Johnson. Bell stated that they love racing and then added very quickly that racing is not a safe sport, but NASCAR has made improvements. Larson joined in and said, “I love it”. He continued by saying that the normal person would question why do we still do that. Larson does not think about the bad stuff or the negatives. Larson feels that a lot of the race tracks are really good and most people look at Sprint Cars as unsafe. “NASCAR racetracks are safe including the race cars”, Larson added.
Then another question was poised, “What are your plans for the 4th of July?” What, what kind of question was that? Maybe mine was not out of the ball park. Larson commented that he did not know what he was going to do. He knew that he would spend time with Katelyn and maybe take Owen to the lake and pool.
“Any more questions?” No, I just sat there, hand never went up. Larson, Bell and Welsh were thanked for their time and they walked off the stage.
After a few minutes, the one “professional” that I had reached out to came up to me and introduced themselves to me and asked me to go into their “media office” to talk. It dawned on me that this was the real thing. I was viewed as part of NASCAR’s media. However, the question raised to me by them was, “are you a fan or a writer?” I immediately said both. This professional who is admired, listened to and above all respected then went on to say that the media are professionals and they don’t appreciate fans in the media center. These people here all have a job to do and that is to report the unbiased news of NASCAR. They earned their seats and roles in the family of NASCAR. They didn’t have or do not profess to have a favorite driver or two. They worked their way into the media center by gaining the respect and following for their work.
It took a while for that to sink in and the question kept repeating in my head – am I just a fan trying to get into the journalistic role of NASCAR and enjoying the perks of having media credentials or truly am I a reporter? I sat there and thought and thought. I thought about not being able to seek out an autograph or two as I have come to do. I had to control my emotions while watching the race in the media center. I had to hold back my emotions and expressions of the success or dismay of my driver. Confining my emotions was very difficult. I sat there and tweeted and thought about not being biased. It was hard. Hard was not the word during the last several laps when Larson and Kyle Busch were racing very hard. Larson nudges Kyle Busch, then in the final ½ lap Kyle Busch bumps Larson to go on to win the race that looked like Larson had won. How do you control yourself when air pumping fists and words of disgust and anger filled my mind?
I learned both on pit road and in the media center that professionals have to report the facts and be non-judgmental in their articles and in their airtime. They almost had to be non-emotional covering the sport that they are totally involved in and dedicated to. Yes, they can express their opinions but that is what it is, an opinion. I stared around the media room again and realized that the love of NASCAR was in their blood and became to appreciate them even more. Not only is it a hard job being on the road every week, working long hours from sun up to sun down, but having to separate their feelings from the facts of the drivers, cars and races. Yes, there are perks to the profession, but these perks to them are the facets of the job and not the thrill or goosebumps the average fan would get when they meet their driver or get that cherished autograph.
I took several strolls in the garages looking at my role from this perspective and it was difficult for me. The thrill of going where the average fan can’t go was there for me but as a reporter I had to curtail my blood flowing and my heart pounds as I passed many a trailer where a crew chief or driver was. I walked through the garages and pit road and realized that all the crew members, crew chiefs and drivers were there for one purpose, to do a job and to do it the best that they could.
I started to watch fans try to disrupt them, ask for autographs or pictures, stalk them as they tried to escape into their hauler. I was taken aback by one fan and her husband trying to get the attention of Chad Knaus. Knaus was in the garage talking and discussing Jimmie Johnson’s car with a NASCAR official after it failed inspection. The fan was relentless in trying to get Knaus’ autograph and finally walked away and I heard her say how rude he was. Immediately, I wanted to go over there and point out how rude she was. I didn’t but then it dawned on me that I was one of those fans always seeking out an opportunity to meet a driver or crew chief. It made me instantly appreciate that NASCAR does offer this opportunity to fans unlike other sports. We do have more opportunities to meet and interact with the stars of NASCAR. Thank you, NASCAR for that. But as a fan there are roles to play along with the realization of the work that needed to be done in the hauler and on pit road.
As I was granted media credentials for Kentucky, my thoughts from Chicagoland were still with me. However, this time I did not spend too much time in the media center, but rather observed and enjoyed my time in the field – on pit road in the garages and watched the major players at work. It made me understand and appreciate my love of the sport.
I did hold back outward emotions as drivers whizzed past me, but my heart still pumped and the smile on my face showed that I was not only a fan in my heart but a female capturing the thrill and facts of the race and trying to paint a picture for my followers.
I am sorry I have not shared any articles recently about my driver Kyle Larson, but I was confused and had a writer’s block on how to present my articles without coming from a fan that believes Larson will make his name in NASCAR for many years to come and wanting to put down any driver that interfered with his quest to win. I have been questioning myself - am I just a fan or someone that can report my love and professionalism for the sport. Then it dawned on me. I have to be myself and just do it. Just put into words and paint a picture of the details of the weekly races.
I want to thank Ladies of Speed for the opportunity to see and get a first-hand experience of the behind the scenes experience - ones that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I do hope to get media credentials again, but the next time I will remember that I am a part of sport that has given me the opportunity to express myself while still being a fan. I get the dividing line and understand that I can put down in words the details of and the followings of my driver – Kyle Larson.
I still hope to meet Larson in a professional setting and have the opportunity to ask him the questions that were repeating in my head that I was too afraid to ask. I want to enjoy the race as a fan and have those high blood pressure moments as one simple move on the track makes or breaks it for my driver.
I now believe that being a fan and a reporter of a driver takes the professionalism of reporting not only the facts but sharing the love of the sport of NASCAR.
Please continue to follow me as I do share weekly the events of the previous week’s race and thrill of many victories to come for Kyle Larson and share the agony of the defeats that are bound to happen to him as well. I am proud to say that I am a reporter of the sport I love and one that still gives me goose bumps when a driver crosses my path.
Follow and chat with me here: @marngardel
Editor's note: There is a fine line to cross when a fan becomes a reporter. We, at Ladies of Speed, are very proud of Mary as she moves forward embracing being both.
By Katie Sveinson, Survey Analyzer
Recently, NASCARFemale.com created a survey to better understand the experiences of NASCAR fans.
Out of 73 respondents, 51 attended NASCAR races in person, while the rest would watch at home.
Most participants (17) noted that they would be attending one race during this season, with 13 participants going to 2 races, 6 participants going to 3 races, 7 participants going to 4 races and 9 participants going to 5 or more. Those attending are almost split down the middle as to whether they are purchasing multi-day tickets (33 participants) or a single day ticket (37 participants).
We also asked respondents who was their favorite driver. Joey Logano was most popular (20 participants), followed by Brad Keselowski (7 participants), and Dale Jr. (6 participants). Other notable mentions include Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney. A few participants acknowledged that they do not cheer for individual drivers but rather those who drive a specific brand (i.e., Ford or Chevy).
The race most participants were looking forward to is the Daytona 500, followed by Bristol and Talladega. 6 participants noted that Homestead was the race they were most looking forward to, while 5 said Charlotte. Other races that were mentioned included Las Vegas, Sonoma, Watkins Glen, Brickyard and Eldora.
There are many enjoyable experiences to be had whether attending NASCAR races or watching at home. For the most part, the participants who attend discussed elements that relate to the atmosphere. 18 individuals noted that the excitement of the race is unforgettable. Another 15 discussed being with friends, family and other NASCAR fans. Additionally, the interaction with drivers (i.e., autographs, being close, etc.) was frequently mentioned (10 times). Other memorable experiences related to the weather, tailgating and camping/the campgrounds.
There were also numerous reasons why people enjoyed watching NASCAR at home. Most common was the extra features that are provided when watching on TV such as commentary, multiple camera angles, in-car cameras and replays. Many people also noted that they love to ‘crank’ the volume. Other reasons that were mentioned less frequently were being in the comfort of their own home, watching with family and of course, as any woman can appreciate, no lines for the bathroom!
Thanks to all those who participated and make sure to be on the lookout for future surveys!
3/4 mile D – Shaped Asphalt Track with a Capacity of 71,00 located in Richmond VA
February 13th, 2017
I wanted to share this article I wrote, from a while back.
As y’all may know, on September 10th 2016 I attended my first Nascar race ever and this is to tell you about the experience I had while I was there. Let's just say it was pretty much the best day of my life LOL I am not kidding, it is one of the coolest things I have ever gotten to do. Let me tell you about one of the best days of my life.
I had been given two Hot Passes for this race which gave me access to pits & garage area and I had no idea what to expect. I was so nervous knowing I was going to be around some of the coolest people - including drivers, crews, and reporters in the top series of NASCAR.
Saturday Morning Sept 10th, 2016
Saturday morning we all woke up @6:00 am. As soon as I wake up, I feel all nausea and absolutely did not feel good. At this point I thought, let me get up and moving and it will go away but that was the problem, this feeling didn’t go away. I realized it was my nerves getting the best of me. I could barely move without feeling like I wanted to throw up. Slowly, I sipped on a bottle of water and put in a piece of mint gum to try to ease the nausea feeling. It helped just enough for me to get ready and then headed toward the track.
We headed to the track, stopping by Starbucks for some coffee. I couldn’t even drink that. I think I took one sip and threw it away once we got to the track, that’s how nervous I was. It wasn't until we got to the track, parked and used the restroom when the nervous feeling started to go away. Pulling up to the track was so exciting for me. It was hard to believe that I was finally here. I was pretty much one of the happiest girls on earth at the moment. I had no idea what was in store for the rest of the day.
We started out on the adventure of finding the NASCAR credentials trailer to get our Hot Passes. After being confused, the wonderful Guest Services at RIR took us to where we needed to be. Once there we had to fill out and sign a registration form to get the passes. Everything was filled out and we were ready to go. Then we found out the passes weren't available until 12:30. They ended up opening earlier because there were a lot of people waiting.
As we were standing in line the realization started to kick in. This was happening and it was the most awesome feeling to be standing in line at the NASCAR trailer waiting to get hot passes.
Saturday Afternoon September 10th, 2016
After we got our Hot Passes we wandered around the midway and checked out the huge Fanatics tent. Had lunch while waiting on the track to open. After lunch, we met up with one of my online Nascar friends and then headed down to Grid Side Live. Here, drivers made an appearance in front of the fans, down on the track, which was pretty awesome. I was standing on the racetrack! As we headed in they handed us each a NASCAR Sprint Cup sweat towel. Man, did I need that because it was super hot out.
After hanging down on the track for Grid Side Live, my NASCAR friend took us down to pit road and the garage area. He had this access before and so he gave us a tour. We eventually ended up at the hauler of Jeffrey Earnhardt and the GoFas Racing Team, where we met the owner of GoFas Racing's son Mason St. Hilaire.
We stood outside of the hauler for a bit and when I wasn’t paying attention Jeffrey came out behind me. For me to turn around and see him, I was like 'holy crap'. I am so nervous and he said why you so nervous LOL. In my head, I was like because you are Jeffrey Earnhardt that’s why and I was nervous to meet someone I admire so much. I am a fan. I will always be there to support him each week no matter what team he is with or how he does in each race. Plus, he kinda gets me because he is pretty darn good-looking too which is such a bonus.
I am glad that I can be there to watch him succeed and grow. Its good to see that for a person who has so much passion for the sport. I can’t wait for the day when he is getting top 10 finishes or even winning races, that will be a day I will never forget. I also got to meet Teresa and Tom Keen which if it wasn’t for them I would have never had this experience. Words can’t describe how thankful I am for the opportunity they gave me. They are a sponsor of Jeffrey's and own a company called Keen Parts. You should definitely check them out, they are great people. I am glad to know them and have them as friends.
Saturday Evening September 10th, 2016
Other than meeting the person I admire the most, Jeffrey Earnhardt (which he got a lot of Good Luck hugs LOL I am not kidding he did) there were some other amazing things that happened. I got the honor of standing with the crew on pit road at the car before the race started. At that the point, I thought we were going to have to leave and go back behind the pit wall but that wasn’t the case. We got to stand on pit road for the pre-race ceremonies. All of a sudden I heard 'Line Up' and I was like what is happening so I got in line, then one of the crew members shouted you can stand by Jeffrey, so I did. Man, was my heart pounding. This was so exciting standing next to Jeffrey and his crew during the pre-race ceremonies. What an awesome experience.
After pre-race ceremonies we headed back to the pit box because that’s where we planned on staying for the race. We got there and were told that we can sit in the pit box for the race. This was getting better and better.. They had scanners so we could listen to Wally Rogers, the Crew Chief, talk to Jeffrey during the race. It was awesome watching the first round of pit stops - Exciting!! We have the best view, coming from the person who has only seen a pit stop on TV. At one point during the race, I felt someone tap me on the shoulder. It was one of the crew members. He handed me some lugnuts off Jeffrey's car. So, needless to say, I had the experience of a lifetime and, trust me, I could probably go on and on but I think this is a good stopping point.
There is one last thing I want to tell you. After the race was over we headed back to Jeffrey's hauler to congratulate him. You want to know why - because he hand gotten his career best finish in the Nascar Sprint Cup Series, P27. He led the first two laps under the first caution. When I found out, I knew that before I left I had to congratulate him. I even got a hug. I said I knew I was a Good Luck charm and it looks like all those good luck hugs paid off.
P.S. I would like to thank everyone who made this possible. It was a dream come true and I am so fortunate to know such great people. I can’t thank you all enough for giving me this opportunity. Hopefully, I can come hang out with you guys again and Thank You So Much for not only being my friend, but being part of my NASCAR and racing family!!!
Follow and chat with me here: @CassandraAMyers
By Jessy Miller @JessyNMiller
July 9, 2016
Saturday morning started out with my stomach in knots and a constant drumming of my fingers on counters and tables as I made my way through my house. By 10:30 my dad and I were out the door and in the car. I had never been more excited and nervous for something in my life as I was in the car that morning on the way to Kentucky Speedway.
On the way to the track we got McDonald's and as soon as we got to the track we parked in the Ford section, and started to walk. The walk from our car to the track was probably one of the longest walks I've ever taken. It was super hot and uphill. Finally, when we got to the track I was completely awestruck. I'd never seen anything more beautiful. Around the track were tons of tents, people, and activities. Everyone was having fun, and soon the atmosphere of the racetrack rubbed off on me and I couldn't keep the smile off my face. I was so terrified I would run into a driver and look stupid, but at the same time I just had to see a driver.
We walked around the outside of the track watching everything happen, and went to the superstore. I wanted to go to the Joey store first, and my dad made sure we walked through all of the stores. Obviously, being the graceful being I am, without even thinking I drowned myself in Joey Logano merchandise, and ran myself out of money before I even thought about getting Brad and Ryan stuff.
By then it was too late so I went to the bathroom and put on my new Logano shirt, hat and credential holder. After finding my dad again the second he saw me, he smiled. "Think you're overdoing it?" he asked. I shrugged in response. "Nah, I'm repping my driver and having fun doing it." We soon got in line for the hospitality village and watched some guys on dirt bikes do flips.
At 2pm we were let inside and we found the Dale Jr. hospitality tent. I'm not used to being out in the sun and heat like I had been Saturday
and I had the constant feeling I was going to either throw up or pass out. Luckily, I never ending up doing either and instead sitting in front of a fan for a good fifteen minutes made me feel better. We hung out in the hospitality tent for quite some time drinking sodas and waters before my dad suggested we go on a pit road tour.
We waited for the next tour and as soon as our group was assembled we headed to the infield. We stopped in Victory Lane and I even saw a few drivers through a gate. Now, since I was completely blinded by everything at the racetrack, I hadn't given much thought to what a pit road tour actually was. I figured we'd get close, and that was it, so you can probably imagine my surprise when we began walking through the pit boxes!
I took videos and pictures and tried not to freak out. I stood in all the Penske driver's pit boxes getting tons of pictures. After we walked
through the pit boxes, we went behind the pit boxes and I saw so many workers and once again I was stunned. I took a ton of pictures behind the pits and we then ended up walking back to the hospitality village to see Dale Jr. who was doing a Q&A at 5.
As soon as the loud cheering began I felt my stomach drop. I was such a moron. I hadn't bought anything Dale Jr. on it! Let's just say, during the interview Dale made awkward eye contact with someone drenched in yellow and red. After the interview was over, my dad and I hung out a little more before going back to the infield to get to driver intros.
We wandered around asking people where to go and all that stuff. Finally, we found out where we were supposed to walk. Once again for the umpteenth time that day I felt my heart skip a beat as we walked out onto the track. We watched the last few minutes of the pre-race concert until they started to take apart the stage.
My dad looked nervous and we both started thinking we were in the wrong area, but I looked around and no one else was moving, well not at first anyways. I saw another stage just past the start/finish line, and pointed it out to my dad. As the group of people around us started dissipating a few kids were signing the track and my dad goes, "Jess! Quick, sign the start/finish line!" Without thinking I dropped on my knees and pulled my KYS pen out of my pocket. I bought the pen earlier on in the day in case I ran into a driver so he/she could sign stuff for me. I never did meet face to face with any driver, but it turns out that pen came in handy after all.
We walked to the second stage and waited, and waited, and waited. There was still another hour before driver intros started. The banking of the track looks pretty steep on TV, and from our seats, but you don't know anything until you stand on the track for an hour while it was burning hot.
Soon after, the driver intros began and I took lots of pictures. Of course when I saw a majority of the drivers I was freaking out, like when
I saw Landon Cassill or Ryan Blaney but when they introduced Joey, my heart stopped. I was so starstruck I couldn't even take a picture, so I just threw my hand up in the air and screamed while waving. Thankfully, my dad did get pictures and sent them to me. I was still freaking out when they introduced Brad so I waved and again cheered loudly. Brad even waved at me.
As soon as driver intros were over my dad took us to our seats. Let me tell you, I was shaking so much and was totally having a Fangirl moment. I mean can you really blame me? It was my first live race after all and I had just seen my idols in person! It was such an amazing thing because it never dawned on me that it would ever actually happen, ever.
By the time the race had started I was finally calmed down and I was enjoying watching the cars go round and round and round. Suddenly my day took a turn for the worse when I watched Joey's car slam into the wall. I felt so bad for him, especially when I saw how bad the damage was on the 22. So I kept watching and tried not to worry about whether Joey would get back out on the track when I heard Ryan crashed. I turned my attention to where his car had been torn up and my mouth dropped, Brad was my last hope for a Penske win.
I saw the 22 being rolled out of the garage and I was like "yes, Joey's coming back out!" And then with a heavy heart realized the 22 was just being rolled into its hauler. Ryan came out and multiple times went back to the pits, the back of his car covered in duct tape. The race was nearing its end and I had my scanner plugged in with my headphones in listening to Brad communicate with his team.
Brad was running short on fuel and Matt Kenseth was close behind him. Just when I was sure Matt would pass Brad, he pitted. Brad had kept a pretty big lead for most of the night, and now that second place has pitted, the lead was even bigger. Watching Brad race
for the win live was amazing, and his fuel strategy was even more awesome!
He pulled the 2 car to a stop in front of the flag man. A crew member ran over to Brad with the American flag. When I was waiting for the burnout, I couldn't help but laugh and smile when I saw Brad's car being pushed to Victory Lane by a tow truck, the American flag fluttering in the wind.
My dad quickly rushed us back to the car and we got home long before many other fans did, 1:30. I heard tons of fans didn't get home until 3, or even 3:30. What an amazing night it was. I'll never forget the feeling I got while I was at the track, the feeling of being in Victory Lane, of seeing the pits, of being in the infield, and watching a Penske car pull, well pushed, into Victory Lane.
It was such an incredible day, one I'll never ever allow myself to forget. After a race, and an overall day like that I've been reassured
that my future lies with NASCAR. Next time it'll be just me and my Pennzoil hat, I won't need a ton of Logano stuff since I now own like half the Logano store. I'm over exaggerating... A little ;) - See you next year Kentucky Speedway!!
Is there something you would like to see in my articles? If you have any suggestions, or an issue you'd like me to address let me know and send me a tweet!
Follow and chat with me here: @JessyNMiller
By Emily Luther @emilyyluther
July 9, 2016
NASCAR has always been a dream of mine. Growing up, I always dreamt of working for the organization one day—especially on the technology side of things. After becoming an OFR for NASCARFemale, I also became the web development manager for the organization. I never thought the day would come where I would be experiencing a NASCAR race on the media side of things, until this weekend at Kentucky Speedway.
People can say what they want about NASCAR---how can it be a sport when they only make left turns? I have always used the argument that the drivers have to be really fit and be able to handle all that torque and pressure at every inch of the track. Yes, it is trying for each driver and the teams, but I never noticed how much goes on behind the scenes until this weekend.
As a fan, going to a race has always been an amazing experience. You have a great time typically camping and going on pit road or to the fan zone, and you anticipate the possibility of meeting your favorite driver the entire weekend. There is nothing better than finally accomplishing that, but as the media, it is completely different.
In the media, no matter how much of a fan you are, you have to keep your opinions to yourself. You have to remember to be professional at all times. When your favorite driver wrecks, you can’t yell out in the media center (you will get plenty of stares, I promise). And when that moment finally comes that you get to see your favorite driver, you cannot fangirl, no matter how much you absolutely want to. You have to keep in mind that you are being looked at and need to be professional. I can tell you from experience that it is hard. We don’t give the NASCAR media enough credit as fans.
When a wreck on the track happens, media goes rushing out of the media center to the garage. You cannot get close until the drivers decide to take interviews. You must stand behind the yellow line. As a fan, you are normally yelling at the TV screen or from the grandstands, and you don’t care who hears it. To get you the most up to date information, the media is running around the infield, trying to get pictures and updates out to the fans as soon as possible.
This weekend has been everything to me and somehow, it has been so much more. Being in IT, I never realized how hard marketing and PR is until I witnessed it first-hand this weekend. Being able to represent NASCARFemale has been amazing, hard, tiring, exciting, and addicting. No matter what hard times we have run into—whether it be not knowing where we are allowed to be at times during the race, or not knowing where to go or what to do, I can honestly say that there is nothing better.
In the beginning, you are intimidated by the bigger media outlets, but they welcome you with open arms as the weekend progresses. That is what makes this sport what it is. It really is just one BIG FAMILY. The media, the drivers, the teams are all so welcoming with the fans and try to give them the most amazing experience. That is truly what this is all about. This experience has just fueled my passion more to work for the greatest sport there is.
Follow and chat with me here: @emilyyluther
By Erica Stubbs @shedigzsportz
You never quite know how much children watch what you do and imitate it.
A few months ago, I was given the special opportunity to become the Editor of the Nascarfemale.com website. So, each week, I would set up my semi-functional laptop and read the amazing articles from all of the site writers. I would read the articles and sometimes have to ask my 8 year old son questions like, "Daniel, who is this guy right here?" He'd say, "Oh, that's so-and-so". Then I'd keep reading. Well, after a few weeks, he said, "Mom, I want to write one of those things too!" (Referring to an article for the site) So, I told him to go ahead. He came to me after the first paragraph and asked me to read it. I read the first paragraph and said, "good job!" Then he proceeded to finish the entire article.
When he was done, he asked me to read it. I couldn't believe that he'd written it all by himself! I was impressed. So much so, that I decided to share with Liz and Katelyn and they thought it would be okay to post here. So, without further ado, here is my son Daniel's first NASCAR article. Please enjoy!!
Gordon is heading to Homestead!
Not sure about you, but I'm looking forward to reading his season wrap up. Now that Jeff Gordon has run his last race, I'm sure his biggest fan, Daniel, will be writing something to share.
Send me a tweet: @shedigzsportz
by Liz Panucci
Co-founder of NASCARFemale
The timing is impeccable. What better way to start my NASCAR fandom than the year #24 makes his last round…AND he’s racing at Homestead!
Having known nothing about NASCAR last January, to attending races in Charlotte during ‘The Chase’ has made for a rewarding season for me. Who knew ‘left turns’ could be so intriguing. But then there’s the rain factor. So much sitting around, waiting and waiting. I don’t know how everybody does it.
I admire the technology and precision in racing the most. A lot goes into each race, from many tangents. Are these drivers and crews athletes? Most definitely!
I’ve learned that NASCAR is a family. And just like any family there are spats. These spats just happen to involve cars, going very fast. It’s understandable. These are teams. Teams who are competing to finish first. Emotions and tempers are going to overheat a bit here and there.
There’s an adrenaline rush one feels when watching NASCAR on TV. This is intensified 10x when one is actually at the track. I was fortunate enough to have a media pass for Charlotte and made my way to the pits. I was on pit road - SO COOL!! I was wearing my scanner headset during the race and had fun scanning the frequencies listening to spotters, crew chiefs and drivers. Mostly they said ‘clear’ lol
I am so thankful to have met Hannah, Cathleen and Crystal in Charlotte. They all taught me so much and showed me the ropes while pointing out NASCAR celebrities I may not have recognized. I almost met Sue (the cookie lady) and Erica (our editor). We were in the right place but at different times. I know I will be attending races every year now - you ladies have me hooked!
All you wonderful and dedicated ladies who write for NASCARFemale are the best of the best. You’ve taken time from your families and responsibilities to share your passion. Know it is appreciated. The Sisterhood will grow each year and you ladies are the foundation that keeps it solid.
Big thanks to Katelyn, who basically runs the show here at NASCARFemale. If I hadn’t been retweeting her NFL tweets one Sunday and accidentally retweeted a NASCAR tweet, none of this would have happened.
Jeff Gordon sure knows how to keep his fans waiting. Good luck to him, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and their NASCARFemale.com OFRs. I know all of you are super excited to see how this final race unfolds.
Keep sharing your love of NASCAR!
Or why I love road courses
by Missy Strothers
August 23/15 I’m sure we’ve all heard the criticism, usually from folks that have never been to a race. “Why would you want to watch NASCAR? All they do is go around in a circle and turn left. What is the thrill of that?” Of course, we NASCARFemales know there is a lot more to racing than going in a circle (most tracks aren’t circles or ovals, but have turns of differing difficulty), but it’s true that at most of the race tracks NASCAR runs at, the drivers primarily “just turn left”.
However, there are several tracks that are road courses, and those are the tracks I love to watch a race at. I’ve only had the privilege so far of being at Mid-Ohio Raceway in Lexington, Ohio, but hope to someday get to Watkins Glen. I’d also like to see more road track races added to the NASCAR schedule.
From the Mid-Ohio Raceway website:
Often called the most competitive road course in the United States, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is a permanent road circuit set in the rolling hills of Lexington, Ohio. With two challenging track configurations – 2.25-mile, 13 turns and 2.4-mile, 15 turns – the circuit has earned its reputation over fifty years of great racing among many of motorsport’s legendary competitors. (Image A at end of article)
Road courses have multiple turns, both right and left, with names such as “The Paper Clip”, “The Esses” and “The Carousel” and often have elevation changes occurring throughout the track. There are blind turns with a hill involved, sand pits on sides to catch cars that leave the tracks, and the courses are longer than the usual NASCAR stadium tracks. While there may be stands or bleachers spread around the track, the beauty of a road course is finding that one spot to watch, where you know there is going to be action, and planting your chair there for the day.
A radio is vital at a road course track. You cannot see the entire course, so you need to know what is happening at other points. If it’s a televised race, there may be Jumbotrons around the track, but having a radio helps keep you up on everything happening.
While all of NASCAR is part strategy, part skill and a little luck, a road course track challenges the driver to his or her utmost. A major difference in road course tracks and others are how a caution is called. Unlike on other tracks, a car that spins, wrecks or has issues may not bring a full course caution, only a single yellow flag displayed before the trouble area. A full course caution is two yellow flags. A blue flag is used to warn of a stopped car. The red and yellow striped flag is used for debris on the track. A blue with yellow stripe is used to warn a driver there is a faster car approaching. The green, red, white and checkered flags are all used the same as any NASCAR race. But for many road courses, there are no lights, a driver must watch for the flags.
Passing can be very tricky on a road course because most are narrow. Watching a pass in the “esses” is a thrill, and often doesn’t work quite right as the photo below taken from the 2014 race at Mid-Ohio shows. That’s Brendan Gaughan in the sand. (Image B at end of article) He just kept driving and got right back on the track, no flags were displayed. That’s the fun of road course racing!
Many road courses offer driving classes, and my husband (thanks to a Christmas present from me) got to do a full day of training and driving at Mid-Ohio. Courses can range from defensive driving and driving the skid car, to actually taking your own car on the track if it passes inspection. That’s how I learned to sit near the “esses” – Tom knew that was one of the most challenging parts of the course.
As I stated, I’d love to see more road courses added to the NASCAR schedule. Many of the traditional tracks such as Indianapolis Speedway and Daytona do road courses for F1 and GT, and that could easily happen for NASCAR. While you don’t see the entire race sitting at the track (and let’s face it, you don’t at Indy anyway because of the lay out) I still find road courses great to watch and fun to be at. I highly recommend attending one if you get a chance, and get used to the cars turning RIGHT for a change!
Send Me a Tweet: @missystrothers
by Erica Stubbs
August 10/15 Those are the questions I get every time I mention NASCAR. Now, I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a woman or because I’m from a city where football and baseball are huge and NASCAR... Not so much. Whatever the reason, I get the question often. I actually like being an anomaly so it suits me just fine.
I used to be one of those people who would turn on the television on a Sunday afternoon looking for a good movie and “that sport where the cars just drive around and around in circles forever and ever” was on. I would immediately change the channel. I would think “how much fun could that be?”.
Fast forward a few years…
When my son was about 6 years old, I took him to Cracker Barrel. He wanted three small toy cars. They just happened to have numbers on the side… #88, #7 and #48. Little did I know that would be the start of something big. My son began to notice when NASCAR races were on TV. He would sit and watch for hours. I couldn’t believe it. There was something that my son would sit quietly and watch! He would get super excited at the end of the race because he loved watching the celebrations at victory lane no matter who was there. Then he developed a favorite racer. #24 Jeff Gordon. Jeff has been his favorite since he even knew he had a favorite.
Every now and then I would sit for a while and watch the race. Only for maybe 10 minutes at a time, still not quite sure what the “sport” was. I mean, they turn left. But as a sports lover, I would not be outdone by my own kid. I was determined to like it! The more I watched, the more fascinated I became. What really drew me in was the precision of the pit crews. Each crew changed the tires and filled the gas with a process! Now I’m hooked. I watched the races JUST so that I could watch the pit crews work and it was amazing.
After several months of watching NASCAR on TV I needed to take it to the next level. I asked my son if he’d be interested in going to a race. He was all in! I found out that there was a track just under an hour and a half from our home. So, I bought tickets and we were off to Dover, Delaware. The Monster Mile.
It was as if I had entered an entirely new world. There were people everywhere in campers with flags flying with numbers branded. 24, 48, 88, 5, 18… and I could actually identify them! I was getting more and more excited the closer we got to the track. We got in, found our seats and that’s when the love connection was made. The introduction of the drivers, the sounds of the cars starting and then the start of the race. I was in love. Then after the race, I knew that I was a NASCAR fan for life. I have to admit that when I bought the tickets initially I was nervous thinking, “what if the crowd is not racially diverse? Will people look at me like ‘what are you doing here’?” However, I never got one hint of any type of weird looks or bad feelings. The NASCAR fans that I met were absolutely incredible people. Very welcoming. A stranger even walked up to us and showed my son how to put the FanVision headset on, since I clearly had it on backward. What a great group of people!
So, here I am, now a NASCAR fan. I’m actually beginning to know which drivers I don’t like and the ones that I love. I’m a #48 fan so it was cool for me to see him win in Dover in May. I am geared up for the October 4 race because we are going again. Now I’ve got my eye on Charlotte and maybe, with some advanced planning, Daytona one day.
And to think, it all started in a Hampton, Virginia Cracker Barrel.
Send Me a Tweet: @shedigzsportz