INTERVIEW WITH BOB POCKRASS
1. What was it like growing up in Indianapolis, Indiana <https://www.facebook.com/pages/Indianapolis-Indiana/110419212320033?ref=br_rs> ? I assume this is in reference to racing, and having moved there from New Jersey when I was 10, it was when I got my first real introduction to the sport. I went to one Indianapolis 500 as a fan but followed many of the races. What always amazed me was how much the community embraced the Indianapolis 500. Even where I lived, about 25-30 minutes from the track, many people would have decorations on their lawns – such as checkered-flag pennants – during the race weekend. 2. What Sports did you follow when you where a child? My family were New Yorkers. I followed primarily (in order) baseball, football, hockey and basketball. 3. Being from Indy did you follow the INDY 500 as a child up? I moved to Indy when I was 10, and followed it since that time. I believe the first Indianapolis 500 I covered as a reporter was in 1989. 4. When did you become interested in NASCAR Racing? I became interested in NASCAR racing when I started working as a sports reporter for The News-Journal in Daytona Beach. I covered much of the racing and testing at Daytona International Speedway as well as local racing at Volusia County Speedway (now known as Volusia Speedway Park) while working there. 5.Do like any tracks more than the other? Obviously I grew up watching racing at Indianapolis, so that one would probably rank at the top of the list. 6. How did you get your job as a NASCAR Reporter on the site you write for? I went to school at Indiana University, where I worked at the school newspaper, which at the time was the only morning daily in Bloomington (Ind.). I also did stringing for United Press International and various publications while in college. A few months after I graduated in 1991, I worked for The News-Journal in Daytona Beach. I worked as a sports reporter out of the DeLand bureau, covering primarily the high schools in that area and Stetson University as well as local racing. I also contributed to coverage of NASCAR, sports-car and motorcycle racing at Daytona International Speedway and had a variety of other assignments, such as World Cup soccer, Florida State football and select Orlando Magic games. From my work covering races at Daytona and occasionally other tracks in the Southeast, the staff at NASCAR Scene knew my work. When NASCAR Scene had an opening for a reporter in September 2003, I landed the job. Scene soon relaunched its website under the name SceneDaily, and I worked for both the publication and the website as well as a contributor to Scene’s sister publication, NASCAR Illustrated. Scene stopped publishing after the December 2009 edition, and I remained as a reporter for the website. In March 2012, SceneDaily was absorbed by the Sporting News, which was owned by the same company as SceneDaily. I have remained at Sporting News since that time as its NASCAR writer. 7. What is the best and worse part of your job? The best part of the job is never knowing what is going to happen day in and day out, and then having the ability I have to reach readers to explain what is going on in NASCAR. Informing readers to help them understand NASCAR is a big responsibility but it is rewarding to know that you can help fans’ engagement with the sport and have influence on whether they choose to root for or against a certain driver or whether they go to a race or another sporting event. The worst part? I’d say whenever you write about people and their lives, you will undoubtedly write/uncover something that isn’t flattering or could be potentially career damaging; those stories, depending on the situation, can be uncomfortable. 8. What would you tell people who want to get in the field? It is important to know that people make their opinions off of what they read. If you are not fair or accurate with the subject matter, that is not doing a service to the reader. And in racing, a reporter must be prepared to write about injury and possible death of drivers, crew members and fans. 9. Do you like meeting and interacting with the fans? Yes. I write for readers, and it is always interesting to see what they have to say. I like to know what interests them, and I like to hear their opinions on the sport. 10. Do you have any Racing Hero's? No. I was always interested in the career of Mark Donohue when I was a kid (he died when I was 6), but I wouldn’t say I ever really looked at athletes as heroes. 11. Do you support any of the Drivers Foundations? Yes. Last year, I contributed to 14 charities/charitable causes either run by drivers, race tracks or ones where people in the racing industry were raising funds.