Tag Archives: SPEED

For Danielle Trotta, dedication and mentors paved way to success

Danielle Trotta is the perfect role model for those trying to get into NASCAR and broadcasting. (Credit: FoxSports.com)
Danielle Trotta is the perfect role model for those trying to get into NASCAR and broadcasting. (Credit: FoxSports.com)

Danielle Trotta never backs down from a challenge.

She is known as the smiling co-host on NASCAR Race Hub, but the Westchester, New York native climbed to the top with determination. She knew early on what she wanted to do and how to achieve it.

“I just got really lucky,” Trotta told Up Top The Pit Box over the phone. “I did TV in high school. [Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana] had a broadcast station, a radio channel, everything. It helped me get a huge leg up because I was doing reports at 16.”

Moving with her family landed her in Charlotte, where she attended college. She obtained a Journalism degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and became a sports intern at WBTV, the local TV station. That’s when it became cutthroat.

Trotta said, “I worked really hard. That was probably the most work I have ever done. I was an editor, a photographer, and I eventually became the weekend reporter. The slot opened up, and I walked into [her boss’s office] and told him I wanted the position. I knew I could do it. He said, ‘But you have no experience.’ I said, ‘I’ll do it for free!’ So he let me do it.”

Three months later, she landed the job—and got paid for it. Those beginning years are where she learned some of the best tips and tricks. “[Being a sports intern and a weekend reporter] really taught me everything I use to this day. It was me and a few interns…you have to learn how to keep it together…and make it all come together.”

She covered various sports—including NASCAR—while at WBTV, and the SPEED channel hired her in 2010. To say she was nervous would be an understatement.

“I didn’t know the intricacies of the sport. Every night, race fans tune in, and they’ve been race fans for 20, 30, 40, 50 years. I felt vulnerable and overwhelmed. I cried in the bathroom during my first week.”

Eventually, Trotta realized “it just takes repetition” and found her place while co-hosting Race Hub. It’s been five years since she joined the program, and she’s happy with her job—but still seeking more. Hosting the pre-race show for the NASCAR XFINITY Series races was the answer.

“It was important to me in 2015 to move up and get into the garage. I had to be where the sport is [to report on it]…this is my dream job, and I’m excited to grow with FOX. I always like to challenge myself—and my bosses—to give me new sports.”

That determination burned within her since the beginning, but it took two special people to help unleash it. One of them was Delano Little, the sports reporter and news anchor at WBTV who acted as her “cheerleader and motivator.”

“[Little] brought me into the business and raised me from a little puppy,” she said with a laugh. “He was the man who helped build that foundation [for my career]. He showed me that, if I wanted to be in this business, I had to really work for it.”

Her other mentor was Steve Byrnes. The two worked together on Race Hub, where her co-host helped her learn about NASCAR.

“[Byrnes] really took me under his wing when he didn’t have to. I was always able to call him and ask about the business and the sport. He taught me that there are always ways to grow and better yourself.”

Byrnes passed away in April 2015 after a long-fought battle with cancer. The entire sport—including Trotta—is still trying to cope with his absence.

“It’s been tough to lose him,” she said, adding, “He was a great dad and husband, and he was always happy to help others. Every time I talk to someone, they mention that Steve helped them with this or taught them that. It really speaks to the kind of person he was.”

That helpfulness is something Trotta tries to carry within herself. Her years of experience provide her with advice worth sharing.

She encourages young people to start early, saying, “I was in TV competitions at 15, where I had to report stories against other high school students. It’s never too early. Go to a college that sets you up for success. It is crucial to get an internship at a TV station. I don’t think I’d be where I am today if I didn’t have that internship [at WBTV].”

Her other tip is to take risks, noting how she got her weekend reporting position at the Charlotte TV station.

“I walked into that office and said, ‘Give me a shot,’ and they did. There were hundreds of audition tapes of people who wanted that job, but I got it. That’s the power of getting your foot in the door.”

With persistence, Trotta worked hard and burst onto the NASCAR scene—and she’s here to stay.

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With a determined spirit, Vincie climbed to the top and reached ultimate goal

Kaitlyn Vincie's story began in a basement, yet her ultimate goal recently became a reality. (Credit: KaitlynVincie.com)
Kaitlyn Vincie’s story began in a basement, yet her ultimate goal recently became a reality. (Credit: KaitlynVincie.com)

Kaitlyn Vincie doesn’t quit.

The pursuit of her dreams began in a basement, where she filmed herself reporting the NASCAR headlines. She worked for famous Langley Speedway and became the face of their TV updates. Once she was recruited by SPEED, she absorbed lessons about social media and being a road warrior. Race Hub gave her more experience with reporting. She jumped into lighthearted Trackside and focused on drivers’ Twitter and Instagram updates. Now the Virginian blonde is delving into the new challenge of garage reporting on Fox Sports 1.

Life doesn’t slow down, and the fact isn’t lost on her.

“There were a lot of changes out of the gate,” Vincie said in a phone interview. “With the switch [from SPEED to Fox Sports 1], they were trying to find out where to place people. I’m now doing garage reporting throughout the season, and it’s helping me work towards my ultimate goal of pit reporting during races. The thing about pit reporting is that you’re there at the racetrack, and that’s what’s best for me.”

As fans see more and more of her work, it opens up the door for more interaction on social media. The mentions that flow in are a mix of positive and negative.

She is acutely aware of both. “Well, the pro is that it gets my name out there more. There are more fans and viewers reaching out on social media, and they do say some bad things, like, ‘Wow, your hair looked bad on Race Hub today.’ I think it comes with the territory. I try to show no negativity [on Twitter], and there were times I considered deleting. That’s not really an option; Twitter opens the opportunity for promotion.”

Another pro? It linked her to @Nascarcasm, a Twitter humorist who specializes in racing comedy. The two were introduced at Texas Motor Speedway. He, along with three other funny account holders, was contacted by the track to attend the race as a special guest. SPEED put the four behind a curtain, and the Trackside crew interviewed them for a segment.

“He has the NASCAR humor down pat. He’s so funny, a hard worker, definitely found his niche. I’ve met him and his wife, and they are amazing people.”

Then, while in New York, Vincie went to a live taping of David Letterman’s show and got an idea: to add the sarcasm to NASCAR reporting. She contacted Nascarcasm and asked him to do the writing, and the pilot was filmed at her house.

“I wasn’t sure of the response it would get from Fox, but then they liked it and put it on the website. [Nascarcasm] deserves eighty percent of the credit. It’s a tough balance with the serious and funny. You just have to hit it right, and that‘s what he does.”

The endeavor, coined The Mock Run, started earlier this year and was met with praise. Due to Vincie’s dive into garage reporting, the Internet show is finding a new host to carry the witty humor along. Focusing on her day job of feature reporting isn’t a picnic, either.

“There are a lot of moving pieces on Race Hub. It’s a grind. It’s hard to put together a daily show. People really rely on it for their NASCAR news. We have a very diverse group, a very great group.”

When asked about her favorite interview, she noted a July feature with Chris Clayton. The former Army sergeant served six tours in Afghanistan before following his dream of becoming a NASCAR pit crew member. Now, he works for Hendrick Motorsports on the No. 88 car.

“It’s a fantastic story,” she said. “It made for this really inspiring piece that caused you to really reevaluate your life. It’s quite the American dream.”

If anyone knows dreams, it’s her. If anyone knows how difficult it is to get into the business, it’s her. Her success is well-earned, and she learned some advice along the way. “Do not give up on your ultimate goal. The right door will open at the right time. I knew I wanted to be in broadcasting. I knocked on a lot of doors. There will be a point where the right person will believe in you. You have to articulate what you want to the person who can make it happen.”

Kaitlyn Vincie doesn’t quit, and it worked out for the best.