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Tips on covering NASCAR

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by TallSportsGuy, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. TallSportsGuy

    TallSportsGuy New Member

    I'm covering NASCAR for the first time soon. I've covered pro bowling, pro golf and semi-pro baseball before, so the pro aspect of it is nothing new to me. However, I really don't have any interest in NASCAR. For those of you who have covered it before, how did you go about it? What kind of information should I look for when I write my story? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. spaceman

    spaceman Active Member

    Tony Stewart likes it when you call him fat and a hothead.
  3. FreddiePatek

    FreddiePatek Active Member

    Gotta study, buddy. Flat-out gotta study.
  4. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Typically, it's one of the most media friendly sports to cover. I've heard it's gotten a little bit worse since Earnhardt died, but in the handful of racing events I've covered (one Daytona, one Pepsi 400 and a handful of others) 95 percent of the experience was positive and that's from someone who doesn't care or follow the sport at all.
  5. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Semi-pro? You're either paid or you aren't. Not a knock on original poster, I've just never understood that term. Adult amateur ball? What?

    Take a good book. Put it down with 50 laps to go and start paying attention. The first trillion laps of a race are a show and jockeying for position.

    In the old days, you could walk up to any driver and get whatever time you needed. Now it is mostly controlled and contrived and all handed out on quote sheets. Some of the drivers will talk to you as they walk back to the hauler after a group deal in the media center. That's one way to get a couple of fresh items.

    The races themselves hardly seem to matter much anymore. It's all about points and getting in the final 12 (or have they changed it again)?
  6. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    I'd stop pretty short of calling it "media friendly." Maybe if you're talking the truck series where they're thrilled to see any scribes. In Sprint Cup, not so much. Like any traveling circuit, it's hard to cover as a one-shot deal when it comes to your town. Like Moddy said, very controlled. There's an army of pr folks who are trained in a hundred different ways to say "no."

    The race is the race, but for features, try to find some unusual story like a crewman from your area or something.
  7. TallSportsGuy

    TallSportsGuy New Member

    Thanks for the tips, everyone.
  8. KG

    KG Active Member

    One time I did one on a kid from my area that was racing on the entire local track (used to race legends on the front stretch) for the first time. He seemed so happy that I was doing a feature on him. It made it more fun for me, too.
  9. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Feel free to remind the runner-up that second place is the first loser.
  10. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Well, it's where you get paid, but not nearly enough to make a living from it - maybe 30 or 40 bucks a game, less or nothing at all for practices.
  11. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    On the serious tip:

    When you first get there, go take a lap through the garage. Get the lay of the land, see how things are laid out, etc. Study the drivers' photos (since you don't know them), but you can always pick them out because they'll the ones tailed by 20 whores and a couple fanbois while they do the walk-and-sign.

    Go into the media center and figure out where your seat is, No. 1, then go to the wall/table of releases and make sure you get an entry list, a qualifying order, and any practice speeds that you might not have been there for.

    If you can, jot down your e-mail on a couple pieces of paper, go find the manufacturer reps, and have them add you to their mailing lists just for the weekend. They all sit in one big clump, and they'll be wearing the logo on their shirt/hat. You will get the quotes MUCH faster on e-mail than waiting for the minimum-wage office worker to copy them and bring them around.

    Pack a lunch, or have cash to get something from the vendors. If you're at an ISC track, the food pretty much blows.

    Depending on what track you go to/what drivers you talk to, DEFINITELY take a digital recorder. There are times you'll be on the eighth ring of people just sticking your arm up in the air and hoping to pick up quotes. Also, don't let the TV schmoes clobber you with their cameras...they love to do it. I dropped the most well-placed elbow of my life in a scrum in the Dover garage.

    Anything else, PM me.
  12. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    I would not want to be on the other end of an IJAG elbow.
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