Nicole Briscoe of Mooresville began working for ESPN in 2008. She is currently working her 6th season on the NASCAR circuit and will be at the race this Saturday. Nicole is expecting her first child this December. Keep reading to see how she is able to juggle impending motherhood while working at ESPN.
Q. What drew you to NASCAR?
A. I'm not sure I was drawn to NASCAR....it was more the right opportunity. I started covering motorsports in 2004 when I was a sports reporter in Indianapolis. Back then, my primary racing focus was open wheel. I fell in love with the speed, the history, the balance of man versus machine, and when I had the opportunity to grow in my career and the opportunity included a role in racing....I jumped at it. One thing led to another, as do most of the crazy twists and turns in live, and here I am.
Q. How long have you been the host to NASCAR Countdown?
A. ESPN made some changes in the summer of 2011, and I was super stoked to receive an expanded role on the ESPN NASCAR team. I'd been a fill-in NASCAR Countdown host since 2009, and I loved being part of the show. Now that it's my regular job? I love it even more! I'm so lucky to work with guys like Brad Daugherty, Ray Evernham, and Rusty Wallace. Not only do we have fun during each race weekend, but I swear we should have a camera crew with us before and after each race too. Needless to say, there is A LOT of laughter!
Q. For our moms who aren't familiar, what is the show about?
A. NASCAR Countdown is the pre-race show. It's a 30-minute or hour long show that airs before each and every NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on ESPN. I always say....if you walk into a restaurant or a bar....and stumble upon 4 people talking (sometimes rather passionately) about a sport they love, it's a bit like watching our show. There's a lot of conversation between the 4 of us, but we also talk to the drivers, and we have in-depth features that show our fans a different side of the drivers, teams, and the sports.
Q. What is your favorite part about your job?
A. The best part of my job is the people. I work with a fantastic group....both on air and behind the scenes. We spend SOOOOO much time together that the crew very much becomes a 2nd family. I always think it's amazing that I get paid to do what I do. Yes, sometimes it's hard and tiring, and it's definitely not as "glamorous" as most people think, but I know I'm very lucky.
Q. Is it any different now that are you 8 months pregnant?
A. I wouldn't say much is different. I've been pretty lucky. Sure, the first 3 months kinda sucked. I was sick pretty much every day. Some days worse than others, but the rest of the time has been pretty darn good.
I'd say the hardest part now is sleeping. Because of my job, I travel a lot, and I don't sleep in my own bed all the time. Let's just say hotel beds are sometimes "comfort challenged" for people who aren't pregnant. Throw in a baby bump, and I did say the other day that I might now know what it feels like to be 80.
Q. How did you meet your husband Ryan Briscoe?
A. Not to sound totally cheesy, but we officially met because I interviewed him. That was back in 2005, and the interview led to a friendship. After about a year, I finally got smart....and gave in to his persistence. 9 years later....the poor guy is now stuck with me :-) He is, hands down, the best thing to ever happen to me. I'm so incredibly lucky to have someone as kind, caring, level headed, and funny in my life.
Q. What is your plan after the baby is born?
A. The plan post baby is to try not to become a walking zombie. I'd say that's step one. After that, who the hell knows! I'm a pretty organized person who likes to have a plan, but even I'm smart enough to know this is the one thing in life that will totally throw my plan out the window. Ryan and I lucked out in that our daughter is due in the off season. That's a HUGE bonus because it means we'll both be "off". Our families will be with us the bulk of December, and we'll have time to adjust and get to know Squirt (that's our nickname for her). As far as work goes, I plan on being back on air when we hit the airwaves with the 2014 season. Ryan and I often travel in opposite directions in that his season does not mesh with mine, but we're fortunate in that we're able to hire someone to travel with us, and Squirt will get a taste of life on the road in her first year of life. She will always be with either Mom or Dad.
Q. How are you able to travel with your impending due date?
A. Nothing has changed. So far, the travel hasn't bothered me. It's not like I got pregnant and then picked up a crazy travel schedule. The crazy travel schedule was there long before the pregnancy so I'm pretty comfortable with it. The guys I work with, though, have been very chivalrous lately.
Q. What have been your biggest mom/pregnancy challenges thus far?
A. In the beginning of my pregnancy, when I was sick every darn day, the biggest challenge was hiding the fact that I was pregnant. We didn't want to tell anyone until I was out of my first trimester. Let's just say there were a few commercial breaks that included quick/emergency trips out of the Pit Studio and odd excuses/flat out lies for why I was saying no to wine....which if you know me, is a giant red flag that something is up.
Now, the biggest challenge is just sleeping, and remembering it's not just me anymore. I've had to learn to slow down a bit. I can't be go, go, go all the time. I have to allow myself time to rest.