Monday, December 10, 2007

Ask Wendy Venturini Your NASCAR TV Questions

We are continuing the "Ask a Real TV Person Stuff" feature here at The Daly Planet, and this week we have Wendy Venturini from the SPEED Channel.

Update: The question window is closed. Thanks for all the great posts, we will be sending your questions over to Wendy. Please check back with us for her answers on either Friday or Saturday. We also have a surprise guest for next week...and it's a biggie. Stay tuned!

Wendy is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Communications and has been both behind and in front of the camera. She was a Producer for Victory Lane and NASCAR This Morning before moving back on-camera for the Craftsman Truck Series and then RaceDay. She has also hosted a NASCAR Hot Pass channel for DirecTV this season.

Most veteran racing fans are familiar with the Venturini family, who were featured in an earlier Daly Planet column that can be read by clicking here. For more info on Wendy, click here for her official bio on SPEED. Fans can also access her personal website by using this link.

This week Wendy has been kind enough to take some time out of her off-season schedule to answer some reader questions. For those of you new to The Daly Planet, here are some helpful hints about this feature:

Ask one good question, because we get a lot and multiples don't usually make the cut.

Our blog is about TV, this is an opportunity to ask your TV-related questions.

Questions about network issues or programming are not something announcers deal with.

Asking about other TV networks is a quick way not to get your question answered.

This is a great opportunity to think about the issue that you would like to get a direct response from Wendy about, and simply ask it. She is a true television professional who stepped-up and agreed to participate the first time we asked.

This is what we are trying to do at The Daly Planet, take the mystery out of NASCAR TV. You may know Wendy as a reporter, but hopefully your questions will help all of us to know her better as a person.

You may ask your question by using the COMMENTS button below, and then following the easy instructions. Please read the rules on the main page before posting.

This page will remain up until Wednesday, and then we will forward selected questions to Wendy to answer. Look for a new article with her answers Friday or Saturday. Thanks again for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet and participate in this on-going Internet conversation.


stricklinfan82 said...


Thank you for your participation in this Q&A session. You've done a fantastic job in your TV roles so I'd like to congratulate you for all your fine work, as well as for your recent engagement.

My question relates back to your play-by-play work for NASCAR Hotpass this year. I was wondering if you could reflect back on the experience you had being the first ever female to serve as a NASCAR play-by-play announcer, and if that is a role you could see yourself pursuing on a full-time basis sometime in the future?

P.S. I have also been a longtime fan of the ARCA Series as well, and I certainly hope your family's race team can put together a sponsorship deal to run the entire 2008 schedule, preferably with Billy back behind the wheel. It just wasn't the same in 2007 without the #25 team on the track with a Venturini behind the wheel on a full-time basis.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Hi Wendy,
My question is... When you do your Real Deal segments, do you or a producer decide who the real deal will be. Thank you for sharing your time with us.

Kingston, NY

Newracefan said...

Wendy, Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions. Real Deal and your interviews just prior to the race are my favorite parts of Race Day. I would love to see Real Deal turned into a show of its own. Your interviews bring out your respect of the sport and everyone in it (drivers, crews, etc.), hearing about the winning hauler driver putting the money away for his 2 year old daughter is what Nascar fans what to see. It would be great if you could continue the interviews along the starting grid on Fox in 2008(I am assuming that there would not be a time overlap during the Fox races) as long as it would not jeopardize being able to continue when Fox is done for the year. Can you tell us what transpires to make those grid interviews happen? I can’t tell if they are all set up ahead or everyone is just respects you enough to participate.
Perkiomenville, PA

RaceFan1 said...

Thanks for doing this. The Steve Byrnes one was great. I wanted to know also about your Real Deal segment and when do you do those? They always seem to be so time sensitive. How do you do them so fast and then travel to the races? They are always so well done. Keep up the great work. You're an inspiration.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for participating in John's Q&A. I'd like to know how you spend the off season? It seems driver's are split between those who choose to stay close to home, and those that choose to travel. I'm curious as to how you fill the off season.



R.T. said...

Wendy, congratulations on your recent marriage. I consider Krista and you to be the premiere female on air personalities in Nascar. My question, what do you think, if anything, the Nascar media personalities can contribute to reversing the trend of Nascar's declining viewership?

Eastern Iowa

Matt said...

Hey Wendy,

Thanks for taking our questions this week. How was it working on pit road during ARCA races that your brother was competing in? Did SPEED ever keep you in or out of Billy's pit because he's your brother?

Matt, NYC

Anonymous said...

Wendy, what advice would you give to those who want to pursue a career in your industry, either on-the-air or behind-the-scenes(producing, directing)?
Thank You

TexasRaceLady said...

First, I love your work -- especially Real Deal.

Second, thank you for your precious off-season time.

My question, of all the interviews that you've done, has there been one particular that really made an impression on you.

Palestine, TX

Vince said...

Hi Wendy, thanks for stopping by to answer some of our questions. I always enjoy your segments on Race Day.

I'd like to know what a typical race day is like for you. From the time you get to the track until you leave. I can imagine it'd be fun to tag along with you for a day. You seem to know everybody.

Thanks again.

Vince from Michigan

Anonymous said...


First off, thank you for taking the time to participate.

My question is what has been your most awkward moment on or off air, and how did you recover from it quickly, especially if it was on-air?

Thanks again,


Matt said...

Hey Wendy, thanks so much for answering our questions. You do an excellent job on SPEED.

We learned from Steve that on Sundays, the day starts very early. How do you prepare for race day, and do you find yourself to be exhausted once the race is over?

Thanks again,

Rochester, NY

Todd Crane said...

Wendy...YOU are the REAL DEAL. Will we see more of you on Speed next year? Go Heels!!!

glenc1 said...

Although it seems hard to imagine in 2007, are there still people in the garage area who don't respect a female reporter as much as a male one? If so, how do you deal with such a person? I know I'm not alone in thinking you are one of the best reporters out there, period, and hope to see more of you.

Kevin said...

For Wendy...what is your favorite part of your responsibilities, whether for SPEED or HotPass or any other position you hold? Why do you like that part so much?

dejectedracefan said...

Hi Wendy, you are definitely a "diamond" in the rough(Nascar). Hope you will continue to give us such a welcomed bright spot (in some instances to such a dull race day). Do you have any ideas that may uplift the failing Nascar TV ratings? Thank you.

fbu1 said...

In my opinion, the name Wendy Venturini is synonymous with professional sports journalism. The Wendy TV segments are informative, relative and entertaining, a pleasure to watch.

As they progress from local short tracks to the NASCAR stage, most drivers do not take a class in "TV Interviews 101". They usually just spout the rehearsed sponsor mentions. When pressed aggressively to answer the third permutation of the same question, one can see the driver forcing a smile.

However, when Wendy Venturini approaches the drivers, they seem relaxed. They seem to trust that your questions will be relevant, without a hidden "gotcha". As a result, the viewing fan actually learns what is important to the driver, even when the subject touches on sensitive areas. My question: How do you manage to blend your journalism roll with the illusive "trust" component? Nobody does it better.

Patrick said...

R.T. said...

Wendy, congratulations on your recent marriage. I consider Krista and you to be the premiere ------ on-air personalities in Nascar.


Now that's out of the way, to my question...

Why are the networks so insistent upon exclusivity when it comes to the on-air talent? I know that networks have cooperated in the past to share cameras at an event to reduce each network's costs, so why not share at least some of the pit reporters? It would almost behoove all parties, if the pit reporters were considered pool reporters. Maybe, the reporters closest to the dangers of pit road should be subcontracted from Nascar Images or from Nascar itself. Then, there would be some continuity and the personnel would be trained/aware of the hazards.

Thank you in advance for your time and participation in this Q&A session.

Round Rock, TX

Anonymous said...

Wendy, thanks so much for answering our questions. You're my favorite Nascar TV person, I think because you always seem so relaxed with everyone you interview, and they seem relaxed with you. I wanted to ask you if you think your degree in psychology contributes to your excellent interviewing skills? Looking forward to seeing what you'll bring us in 2008.

Ann in AZ

elena said...

Thanks so much for answering some of our questions.

Your work is wonderful. It’s obvious that you prepare before you get to the track. I’m so impressed that you did not just depend on family connections and familiarity of the sport of racing to advance to your dream job.

Because you are from a racing family, I’m sure you wander throughout the garage without anyone feeling they have guard themselves from what you might hear. So, my question has to do with truck driver Aaron Fike. How do people in the garage feel about Aaron? I was very disappointed when he was arrested for drugs. In his most recent press conference, he stated that getting caught had actually saved his life. He seems to be very earnest.

As part of his release, he has to develop an anti-drug message geared toward young people. Aaron said he wanted to have an information tent at NASCAR tracks. But of course he is barred from the tracks. Has NASCAR decided whether they will permit him to bring his message to the track and do you think drugs is something young drivers are attracted to?

Thanks, Elena

(JD, I really tried to roll my questions into one sentence, but failed. Hope it’s okay.)


Tripp said...


As others have said, you're wonderfully talented and your reports and interviews are both informative and entertaining. Your interviews with Mario Andretti and (I think) Leonard Wood still stick in my mind.

BTW: it would be wonderful to kit up a show of the "Real Deal" interviews you've done for Speed Channel or even DVD. Just a thought.

My question: There are a lot of very impressive people in the racing business. Who is the one that's impressed you the most?

Thanks for your good work and for doing this. Good luck.

Prospector said...

Thanks for participating in John's Q & A session and congratulations on your marriage.

The REAL DEAL segments are great as others have indicated. I also enjoy the spontaneous interviews on pit road just prior to the opening ceremonies.

Was this a planned segment or did it happen by accident and worked so well it was continued?

Thanks again. We look forward to seeing you next season.

Richard in N.C. said...

Thank you for agreeing to answer some questions and thank you for the SUPER job you do on SPEED.
How far in advance do you schedule subjects for your Real Deal segments and do you already have any (many?) arranged for next year?

Jaimie said...


I really appreciate your on-air efforts, dedication, and obvious love of auto racing!

What advice would you give to a college age woman wishing to follow in your footsteps and pursue a career in NASCAR broadcasting?

AndyPandy said...

Wendy, this is from one of your biggest fans, which you may have noticed if you visit this site regularly.

Many of us enjoy the SPEED style of broadcasting - it's fun, sometimes a little goofy, but it's still informative. Along those lines, are there any drivers in the Cup series who you particularly like to deal with because you can goof a little with him and he gives it right back, kind of like a brother and sister would do, while still conducting an informative interview?


Ritchie said...

You always seem so "in-control" while working the pre race show on SPEED, regardless of the circumstances that you have found yourself in. You never seem to be disconcerted. My question is this. Have you ever lost your cool with a racing personality or due to any other external circumstance (On-air or off)? I will actually be surprised if the answer is yes.

Thanks for your time.

Busch Series Fan! said...

Wendy, which driver has been your easiest interview? Thanks and keep up the great tv work. Vicky in Houston.

Mr Bean said...


When you were growing up, did you look up to anyone particular in racing? With your family in racing, did you look up to your father or brother? I always looked up to a pioneer like Chris Economaki, and I always like to know who people in the racing business looked up to.


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Steve L said...

Wendy, I'm a big fan and respect you for your work.

I am a photographer and have been on pit road during a race and have seen you running up and down all day long. From experience I know how tired I am at the end of the day, I imagine you feel the same.

It seemed like there wasn't as many interviews of drivers that left the race early due to an accident or car failure this year, is that a fault of the producer or lack of energetic pit reporters?

Shawnna said...

Hi Wendy,

Thanks so much for doing this. You are a wonderful representation for women in the sport.

I was wondering how much, if any, interaction there is between the different network on-air personalities. I've noticed on Race Day, you're on pit road at the same time as the race broadcast pit reporters. Do you guys talk or coordinate at all?

Shawnna in OKC

slithybill said...

Ms. Venturini--

I noticed from your bio that you've worked different production jobs and have also studied overseas. Have any aspects of those experiences helped you on camera?

By the way, the highlight of the 2007 NASCAR season for me was your pre-race stroll through the starting grid at second Bristol. Fantastic television!

--Bill in Kansas