Friday, February 12, 2010

Women in NASCAR……….Wendy Venturini

wendyWhen I started this series, I had in mind the women that I wanted to include. They needed to be strong and confident but reachable. Women who haven’t forgotten where they came from, but know exactly where they are going. Women willing to take on the rewarding job of being a role model.
To succeed in the exciting World of NASCAR, on any level, a woman must be all of the above and more. In my opinion, Wendy Venturini is the epitome of a woman in NASCAR. Although she’s not a race car driver, she knows everything one could possibly know about motorsports.
This is a 3 part interview and will run on consecutive nights. Covering her family, her career. and her husband Jarrad Egert. The series will run through final installment on February 14th, the day of The Daytona 500. So sit back and relax! Get to know Wendy Venturini a little better.
So sit back and relax! Get to know Wendy Venturini a little better.
Wendy and Jarrad at Whiskey River
Wendy Venturini has a passion for racing that began when she was just a young girl. Her entire life has been in preparation of what she now refers to as her "dream job." Natural talent and dedication, paired with her firsthand love and knowledge of motorsports have rocketed her to the top of her game. With family as well as three generations of racecar drivers behind her, she had all the support she would need to make her "dream come true."
Three Generations Strong
Wendy was born January 30th,1979 to a family of 3rd generation racers. First there was Tony Venturini, (Wendy’s grandfather) who raced in the Chicagoland in 1950’s as well as starting up Venturini Motorsports in 1951. Then there was Bill Sr. (Wendy’s father) who was a 2-time ARCA Champion in both 1987 and 1991. Then her only brother, Billy, who followed in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, also racing in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. Billy had 162 career starts had 28 top-5 finishes & 75 top-10s.
racing 2004 3 generationsFrom left to right: Tony, Billy, Bill Sr. taken in 2004
In 2006, Billy became more involved in the family business, Venturini Motorsports. He left his driving behind to become more involved with bringing the family business up to the next level. Wendy states that the business is flourishing and not only do they have great equipment now they also have several up and coming drivers. Most recent, then rookie Joey Logano, having finished in the runner-up position in 2008.
The Venturini Family Photo
Family (4) Pictured from Left to Right Bill Sr., Jenni (Billy’s wife), twin boys Luke and Max, Wendy’s mom, Cathy in middle, Billy, Jarrad (Wendy’s Hubby) and Wendy. Taken at the 2008 Rockingham Arca Race.
Her Younger Years
Wendy chose to pursue a career outside of the Venturini Motorports but still works within the family business. Wendy stated, “My brother Billy and I grew up on the road.” She paused, “Our playground growing up was the shop areas and my father’s garage. I never actually wanted to drive but had all of this first-hand information. I just didn’t turn wrenches for a living. I see my family every week and spend time with them on the road. To me, this is the closest thing to working with my family I could ever ask for. I am very blessed.”

Future of Venturini Motorsports
When asked what she thinks about Venturini Motorsports and female driver Alli Owens, Wendy said, “Of course I love Alli! She is very well spoken. She will definitely be competition in ARCA’s upcoming 2010 Season. Alli isn’t just a female racer. She’s definitely capable of running up there with the boys! She’s got awesome sponsors as well as equipment behind her and should really give Danica a run for her money. Can you imagine the media frenzy should she win?” She went on to say, ”Alli was great in single car racing as well as drafting which will really give her a heads up on Danica.” She says that “everyone is very interested to see how this will all play out at DIS with Danica.”
NOTE : Alli ran strong in 3rd place at the 200 Lucas Oil Arca Race on Friday night. With 10 to go Alli was shoved up from the bottom and lost her position. This really broke her momentum bringing her over the finish line in 23rd position.
Paving The Way
Referring to herself as a "sponge" during our recent phone conversation, she stated, "I have soaked up all this knowledge and information throughout my life. It would've been a waste to not put it to some good use. So I decided to pursue the journalism side of Motorsports. I am able to share all of this knowledge along with my experiences with the fans, and it won’t go to waste.”
Wendy used her passion for racing as motivation for her college career. She attended North Carolina at Chapel HIll from 1997-2000 and received a B.A. in both Communications with concentration in Media and in Psychology with a Minor in Journalism. She also went abroad and studied International Television and Film in Norway and England. Her young resume boasted of both knowledge and education and she was on her way to take the media world by storm.
Wendy explains her Career Objective on her Resume in this way: ‘To combine my racing knowledge and television production skills as a freelance reporter in the Nascar Industry.’ Her employment record reflects her Objective in a major way. She began at a local cable new station, Adelphia 4, right out of college. Although she was overworked and underpaid, Wendy feels that it was the best experience of her life.
Wendy V pic for interview
Career Start in NASCAR
Her career in NASCAR began when she was hired by Wheeler Production as an AP. Still overworked and underpaid, she was finally covering NASCAR. Through contacts and connections her career finally took off. She landed a job as Feature Producer for NASCAR Images. Producing weekly features appearing on FOX Sports Net. Worked her way to Producer on NASCAR Victory Lane.
Venturini said, “In 2004 a spot opened up for a pit reporter in the NASCAR Craftsmen Truck Series. Although I had a vast background in production, I had no National TV experience. I worked from the very bottom of the ladder until I had enough experience to move to the next level. You can’t just expect someone to hand you a mic and the best job available. You have to earn your stripes, and you will have more respect from your peers.”
Check back tomorrow, Wendy really opens up and answers questions about her family, her work, and of course her husband Jarrad Egert. You won't want to miss it!
Thanks for reading!

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