Beyond the Byline: Getting to know Summer Dreyer

Welcome back to Skirts and Scuffs for the third installment in our Beyond the Byline series. This series looks into the lives of some of our most popular and well-known columnists in an attempt to find out a little more about them.

If you are one of those people who think female NASCAR fans, especially teenage fans, are your typical “fangirls,” this interview is going to be a wakeup call. Today’s interview subject is the complete opposite of those stereotypes. She’s bright, funny, charming and very opinionated. Don’t let her age fool you, Summer Dreyer (pronounced Dreer) is a force to be reckoned with.

In today’s post I ask Summer to address her thoughts on some of the stereotypes and some of her goals. It’s my hope that this interview will force readers to take a deeper look at female fans (of any age) before you lump us all together.

And just for the record I don’t #blamesummer for anything.

Summer 1
There tends to be a stereotype associated with young race fans, especially females. Most people see them as fangirls who are only tuning into races because they have a crush on a driver. When most people find out how old you are, do they automatically assume you are that stereotypical teenage fan girl or do they see you as more than that?

I get that all the time. I remember one instance I was talking to a fellow race fan on Facebook and he asked me, "So let me guess. You're a Kasey Kahne fan?" I'd never felt so insulted. I get it a lot though with a few other drivers that people will automatically link me to just because I'm young. Honestly, when I started watching NASCAR I was never compelled to watch a driver for his looks. I can't remember one time where I saw a driver and thought "Wow, he's cute!" and decided to start pulling for him. I've always been a serious NASCAR fan. I loved the racing, the storylines, etc. But I was never in it for a driver I thought was cute. That hasn't ever changed. It's really frustrating, because I've never really given anyone a reason to think that I'm in it for the "cute drivers." What makes it even more frustrating is that there are fans out there my age who cement that stereotype. I'm just not a part of it.

Sorry to keep harping on your age, but I find it remarkable that at only 17, you know exactly what you wanted to do with your life. Tell us where Summer Dreyer will be in 5 or 10 years and what her ultimate goal is.

I want to be living in North Carolina, traveling the NASCAR circuit every week. I believe I've set myself up to be in a position where I could do that. If not, I think as long as I'm involved in NASCAR somehow I'll be OK. I don't care if I'm just the travel coordinator for a race team. I want to be a part of the sport. Writing and media have just proven to be the best method for getting involved. But no matter what, I want to be a part of the sport and be involved in it on a weekly basis.

Some of our readers may not be familiar with your work. Tell us a little bit about your writing career and your internet radio program “Next Time By.” When and where can we listen to “Next Time By”?

Basically my writing is on a freelance basis. There are a couple I get paid for but I could never make a living off of what I make right now. I write for and on a pretty frequent basis (along with Skirts and Scuffs of course). I also write for and on a freelance basis. I pretty much just write whatever is on my mind and send it to them. There are also a couple websites that I've done some work for, but it's not consistent.

As far as Next Time By, I started it in December. I really had wanted to do just a podcast that was just a few minutes and we could just talk about NASCAR with some friends. It turned into so much more than that.

We've had guests on such as Kenny Wallace, Matt Crafton, Ryan McGee and so many others! The future of the show is really bright!

I don't really know exactly who an "ultimate interview" would be. I'm pretty much OK with talking to anyone in the sport.

NTB is really unique in that we have a "fan panel" every week. We let just regular, everyday race fans call in to the show and play "Monday Morning Quarterback." The show airs every Tuesday and Thursday at 10PM ET and streams live online at If you want to call in and be a panelist, you have to call the number listed exactly 15 minutes before the show starts. Space fills up within seconds (only six callers allowed) so you need to be quick! We have some really neat guests coming up here in the next few weeks. If you aren't able to call in, though, we have an interactive chatroom where fans can ask the guests questions and have their comments read on air. We are VERY fan friendly!

I understand that NTB didn't start out as a radio program but as a blog. Can you tell us what prompted you to make the move to radio? Do you still do the blog as well?

Summer2 I had thought of the phrase "Next Time By" a couple years ago and kept searching around for a way to use it. When I decided to start a blog, it just seemed to fit! Originally the blog was intended as a way for fans to get their voice heard. I'd interview fans or send out surveys and have fans respond to questions about a NASCAR hot topic, the weekend's races, etc. I quickly realized that one or two articles a week (or even a day!) wasn't going to get people's thoughts out there. At least not at the level I wanted to! So I started the podcast. I had fans call in and voice their opinions. I can't tell you how much it has grown in just a few months. We have regular listeners and callers and have really established ourselves. It is a fantastic outlet for fans to just get out what they want to say, and it really shows how much people appreciate the effort. I don't update the actual blog as much anymore just because it became so hard to keep up with. But I do update it when I can.

Tell us about your AHA! moment. The moment you realized NASCAR was your sport

That is a very difficult question. I really don't know that I had an "AHA!" moment. Honestly, I got into the sport through the EA Sports video game. I'd always enjoyed racing games but never gave the actual sport a thought. However, after learning all the sponsors, drivers, racetracks, etc, I had to tune in. My curiosity got the best of me. I tuned in pretty inconsistently. For the first few months I'd tune in for the first or last hour of the race and just check to see what happened later. Slowly but surely though it pulled me in. I started looking around on Google for different drivers, websites and shows. It was like discovering a whole new world that I had no idea even existed! I don't remember my first full race. It had to have been sometime in the late summer or early fall. All I know is, before I knew it, I was a diehard NASCAR fan. Every weekend I'd spend Friday-Sunday in front of my TV soaking it all in. During the week I'd read every article, listen to the radio shows, watch the mid-week television shows. I just loved it! I couldn't get enough! Needless to say it has sky-rocketed. I really didn't become serious about getting involved in NASCAR as a career until last season. I decided to give it a try and if I didn't like it I wouldn't do it. I found I enjoyed the racing more looking at things objectively and having to think up storylines. It made me feel more involved in the sport! The more involved I got, the more I enjoyed myself! There have been times where I thought, "Is this really what I want to spend my life doing?" And every time I think, "What else is there that I'd rather be doing?" I can't think of anything else I enjoy more and devote more time to than NASCAR. It's my life and it's my passion ... and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Summer, you are very active on Twitter. I have to ask what your thoughts are regarding its longevity. Do you think it's something NASCAR fans will stick with or is it just a fad? Who is the one driver or personality you would love to see with an account? Who should never have an account? What is your honest opinion on the #blamesummer hashtag - do you find it amusing ... and what is the funniest thing you have been blamed for?

Twitter is here to stay! I'm sure people thought Facebook, YouTube and MySpace were fads as well. Heck, they probably thought the Internet was a fad! The fact is, though, Twitter allows an interactivity on a level that fans have never had before. We're getting information within seconds after it happens. The site is only going to continue to grow. I don't know that it will replace actual media, but it will definitely add to it. Honestly, I hope it doesn't get too big. I liked it when it was small and drivers could still interact with fans and reply to their "tweeps." Now they have around 20,000 followers (if not MANY more!) and just can't. I really hate that! At the same time, though, it's not like the personal level goes away. Fans want that. If drivers are willing to give it, I say go for it!!

There aren't any NASCAR personalities I WOULDN'T want to see on Twitter. I wish everyone in NASCAR would get one! I wish Twitter was just for NASCAR fans to be honest with you! However, I do wish at least one of the bigger names would get a Twitter. Someone like Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon would be a blast to see on there. To be honest with you, I can't think of who would be the most likely of the four to get one. I think the very reason I would love to see them on there, though, is one of the reasons they shouldn't join. I've seen fans get nasty with drivers like Kyle Busch, Scott Speed or Denny Hamlin on Twitter. I can't imagine how nasty they'd be to some of the bigger names. It'd still be nice to at least have one of them on though!

As far as "#blamesummer," I find it hilarious! The first time it was used was when Genna (Genesis Short, fellow S&S writer!) and I were talking on instant messenger and I told her that I have a habit of attending races that Jimmie Johnson wins. Seriously, any race or qualifying session I've stuck around for in person Jimmie has won. So Genna started #blamesummer. However, it really didn't catch on until Daytona. I'm not your "traditional" fan. I like when NASCAR implements some of these new rules to make things more exciting. I was pretty disappointed when NASCAR started the consistent start times. While ultimately I think it was good for the sport, I hated that some of these races would no longer end under the lights. The Daytona 500 was one of them. I don't know why, but seeing the cars under the lights makes it seem so much more exciting and more dramatic. So I was really hoping that somehow we'd have a primetime NASCAR finish. The pothole wasn't really a thought but I didn't mind it in the least! Everyone else noticed my happiness and wanting the delay to last just a little bit longer so we could race under the lights! So I had a few people say #blamesummer and it just grew from there. By the end of the race, many of my followers were using it. With many, it's stuck! It even has its own Twitter account, though I believe that the name changed due to another hashtag started by Genna (#ISupportSummer).

I can't really think of one instance that this happened, but I tend to be a jinx. I will say something along the lines of "There hasn't been a caution in a while" or "Wow, Carl Edwards sure is running well today!" Without fail, things will go south. A caution will come out or that particular driver will wreck. I prepare for a rush of "#blamesummer" hashtags to come in. They always do. And it always makes me laugh! I love it!

What compelled you to write for Skirts and Scuffs?

I'd actually had the idea of an all-female NASCAR site a while ago, but figured one already existed or there wouldn't be any means of getting it going. Plus I was worried about coming off as sexist. But when I saw you (Katy Lindamood) looking for writers for this site, I was all for it! I love to write, and this just gave me another avenue to spout off at the mouth! I'm very pleased at the progress this site has made and love Lindi Bess's "Women in NASCAR" series.

**FYI: Summer writes a twice weekly column for Skirts and Scuffs called “5 Questions.” It’s one of our most popular series and is a fun read. Look for it (usually) on Thursdays before the race and Tuesdays after the races.**

When you aren't tweeting, writing or hosting your show what do you do? Do you have hobbies that aren't NASCAR-related? What do you do during your "me" time?

You mean there are things out there that AREN'T NASCAR-related?! Wow! ... Seriously, though, I can't really think of much I don't do other than NASCAR. Even on the rare occasion I don't have a show to do, an article to write or homework to complete, I'm still talking about racing with people on Twitter. I'm still thinking about it or talking about it with someone. If I'm not, I'm not home! Even then, I get tweets sent to my phone from select NASCAR people so I'm always in the know! Occasionally on off weeks I'll go to the movies with my mom or my brother just so I'm not bored to tears with no racing on. Otherwise, I really don't do much else. I meant it when I said racing is my life. It takes up every moment of my free time. It doesn't bother me though. NASCAR IS my me time. It's mine and I don't have to share it with anyone else. No one else in my family watches it. I'm at my happiest when curled up in my little computer chair in the basement in the storage room, watching my NASCAR, with a laptop on my lap desk. I may seem very focused and very intense, but inside I feel very content and happy. So don't worry that I seem to have no life! NASCAR is my life! I truly wouldn't have it any other way!

Do you have personal and professional role models?

I really don't have role models. I am who I am and I'm not easily influenced by anyone else. There are some people I look at in the industry and I think, "Gosh I'm glad there are people like them still around." But I don't really model my life, personality or writing style after them. I'm an individual and want to be seen as such. I am who I am!

Sum up Summer Dreyer in one sentence....if you can.

I'm an enthusiastic, witty and imaginative girl who loves NASCAR, God and country music!
Pictures used with permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the interviewer or the subject and may not reflect those of Skirts and Scuffs other contributors.
Beyond the Byline: Getting to know Summer Dreyer Beyond the Byline: Getting to know Summer Dreyer Reviewed by Katy Lindamood on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 Rating: 5