With the 42-week NASCAR season coming to an end this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, many of the hundreds of people involved with the sport will get off the road before it all starts again in February. That includes two bureau producers from ESPN’s News and Information group.
Andrea Pelkey and Malinda Adams are at a NASCAR event somewhere almost every weekend. The two manage an at-track team of two reporters, two photographers and technical/operations personnel servicing SportsCenter, NASCAR Now and other ESPN news platforms with video, interviews and breaking news.
On a typical day, Pelkey might be coordinating a live driver interview from the track on SportsCenter while Adams is in the media center asking a question during a driver news conference. Then one might be on the phone for 30 minutes discussing items for Sunday’s NASCAR Now show while the other is chasing a story with a reporter and photographer in the garage area.
“It’s like a flurry of activity,” said Adams, who is based in Atlanta and has been working on NASCAR for ESPN since 2011.
“We’re really the point person that makes everything happen out here and sort of the glue that keeps it together. You just never know what’s going to happen and I think that’s really exciting.”
Pelkey, who works from ESPN’s bureau in Boston and has been assigned to NASCAR since 2007, and Adams also spend the early part of each week in planning.
“You don’t just show up,” said Pelkey. “There’s a lot of planning that you have to do. You work with the shows to see what timeslots fit for them and you have to do a bit of adjusting because it is live television.
“[At the track], we have to do all the planning for the fiber to be laid [for live shots and equipment], the technical side of things, as well as the logistics, getting everybody where they need to be at certain times, and content.
“So we help talk to the producers in Bristol, what are the news stories, what are people talking about at the track, give them a feel for what’s going on out here. There’s a lot of back-and-forth about content.”
Although the NASCAR season is long and grueling, both enjoy what they do.
“It’s a unique sport,” said Pelkey. “I call it a traveling circus. It’s different than covering other sports because it’s the same people every week just a different location. It’s about building relationships that make the wheel go around.”