DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – There is a team of about 300 media members bringing the action from Daytona International Speedway to millions of people around the world. All these people work out of the same building at Daytona, called the “media center”.
When you look inside the media center you’ll find an equal demographic of women and men covering the sport, but the diversity wasn’t always evident.
You’ll find hundreds of reporters, producers, writers, and camera operators in the media center who are all bringing the stories from the start/finish to people at home.
SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio reporter Claire B. Lang has been on the NASCAR beat for decades, but it wasn’t an easy fight to get on the air.
“In sports talk radio they didn’t even want women to call in and express your opinion,” said Lang.
Lang changed the game decades ago when she moved to Charlotte from the Midwest to fill in on a sports radio show. She fell in love with the speed of NASCAR and just as quickly began covering the sport full time.
She was once one of the only women in motorsports media. While that statistic has changed, she says the perception needs some catching up.
“What I hope is that we [women] are all people and we are judged for who we are and not put in a group of, here are all the girls,” said Lang.
The media center is already a group of solid, hardworking reporters. That Includes a young Kelly Crandall who is a writer for RACER.Com
“There are so many amazing women and talented people that came before me, whether it is Deb Williams or Jenna Fryer from the AP who is still here. There are PR reps who are women. There are mechanics and engineers who are women. So there are a lot of women here, so that’s why I don’t think about it,” said Crandall.
What Crandall does think about, is how Daytona International Speedway helped shape her career.
“So I remember standing on top of that garage right there over my shoulder and looking down and thinking I want to be in there. I want to talk to those people. I want to walk around in there and have fans looking at me,” said Crandall.
Her dream is one shared by many fans. Established reporters in the industry say it’s achievable with hard work.
“I was raised to believe you could do everything you want, but be the best at it and work at your craft. Just because you’re handed a mic doesn’t mean you’re a broadcaster. You should work at it every day,” said Lang.
Both Lang and Crandall work independently while at the racetrack and typically travel to a majority, if not all, of the 36 race NASCAR schedule.