Friday, February 1, 2013

Women in NASCAR: Meghan Kolb



Meghan Kolb
Whether she's on camera, behind the scenes or standing in the pits watching dirt fly, Meghan Kolb cherishes her job in motorsports broadcasting.

“There’s never a day that I dread working,” she said. “It’s fun every single day.”

As a producer and co-host of the television show "Three Wide Life," Kolb wears every hat imaginable. She schedules, sets up and performs interviews, plus does some of the post-production editing. Off camera, she handles marketing, public relations and the show’s social media accounts.

Kolb on the 3WL set
“I’m kind of a jack-of-all-trades,” Kolb said.

Because Three Wide Life (3WL) is a smaller company, everyone on staff pitches in to do all kinds of tasks. Their reach is anything but small, touching an audience of 40 million households, according to the official website. In fact, Kolb said 3WL is the most frequently aired motorsports show in the country.

“The unique thing about it being a nationally syndicated show is that it airs in different markets depending on where you are,” Kolb said. She loves that the show runs year-round on regional sports networks or can be viewed online a couple weeks after they air on television.

“When there’s no other racing to watch, you still have 'Three Wide Life.' You can still get your racing fix in the off-season.”

Midwestern roots, Southern heart
Raised in a Chicago suburb with her brother and two sisters, Kolb was no stranger to sports.

“My dad used to always take us to Bulls basketball games and Notre Dame football games, so I grew up as a sports fan,”  Kolb said.

Her talent on the volleyball court earned her a full athletic scholarship to Clemson University, where she fell in love with the south, although at that point she hadn’t dabbled in the racing side of southern culture.
Kolb interviewing Cole Whitt

“I really liked the south but knew nothing about NASCAR, being from Chicago. I think I knew who Dale Jr. was, but that’s because he was so popular. I don’t think I even knew they went in circles around the track,” Kolb recalled.

After graduating from Clemson with a degree in sports marketing, she was offered an internship back home with the Chicago Bulls, but accepted a spot with a sports marketing agency near Charlotte instead.


Her first race
During the internship, Kolb attended her first NASCAR event. When the green flag fell at Darlington, she describes getting chills and realizing in that moment that she was a race fan.

Kolb has fond memories of that first visit to the Lady in Black.

“There is so much history and culture there," Kolb said. "At the time I don’t think I really appreciated it because I didn’t even know that so many legends had been there or how you get your black stripe and all that good stuff. It’s crazy how quickly I learned and picked up everything. I ended up loving racing."

Interviewing Smoke at a seat swap event he did with Lewis Hamilton at Watkins Glen

And the show goes on
When the economy took its toll on the sports marketing agency, a side project thrived – a TV show called "Three Wide Life." Kolb was an intern at the time and enjoyed the project.

“They let me go along for interviews with different drivers. It was kinda fun doing the research and interviewing the guys,” she said.

Now, as co-producer and co-host of the show, Kolb is passionate about covering grass roots racing and showcasing racing personnel who aren’t usually in the spotlight.

“We like to cover the stories behind-the-scenes, inside the garage, inside the race shop,” she said. “We like to cover a lot of drivers that are up-and-coming, who need a little love to get some more exposure and get their name out there.”
Kolb chats with driver Ashley Force Hood 
One episode features female drivers Ashley Force Hood, Johanna Long and Natalie Sather, along with Kelley Earnhardt Miller and her daughter, Karsyn, with reporting by Kolb, Erin Evernham and Tiff Daniels, who is also a driver.

“Women in racing have grown tremendously, over the past couple years especially,” Kolb said. “We wanted to take an episode to recognize how popular they really are and how much they contribute to the sport.”

Kolb at a dirt track event
As part of her job with 3WL, Kolb spent two years as a pit reporter for TORC (The Off Road Championship.) She did pre-race stories and interviewed the top-3 finishers after each event.

“I actually prefer dirt racing over pavement,” Kolb shared. “I think it’s more exciting to watch.”

Not surprisingly, she prefers short track racing in NASCAR, tagging Bristol as her favorite track. 

An interview leads to the altar

Kolb and her husband, Adam, have a fun “how-did-you-meet” story.

“Emily Maynard used to be a host on our TV show,” Kolb said. “She, in a round-about way, had introduced my husband and I to each other when he was a pilot at Michael Waltrip Racing.” They interviewed Adam - who has flown drivers including Denny Hamlin, Robby Gordon and David Reutimann - about what it’s like to be a pilot for NASCAR.

Adam and Meghan welcomed a baby girl, Nolyn, to their family in April 2012.

Kolb’s work has challenges and benefits, with travel serving as both. It’s difficult to leave her husband and young daughter when she travels, yet she revels in the fun and excitement it brings.

“The thing I love about my job is that it’s ever-changing,” she said. “We’re at a racetrack in Tulsa, Oklahoma, or I’m in Daytona for the Daytona 500 or I’m at a small track in North Carolina that has so much culture. I get to travel and meet cool people and learn about their stories.”

Looking through the pictures to post here brought back fond memories for Kolb. “It makes me remember and appreciate how cool of a job I have.” 
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Want to check out Three Wide Life for yourself? Past episodes featured Kyle Busch Motorsports, Turner Motorsports, BK Racing, Venturini Motorsports, and Front Row Motorsports. Upcoming interviews include Clint Bowyer, the Truex brothers, Kyle Larson and more. Check TV listings for your area or watch online episodes at the 3WL website.

All photos courtesy of Meghan Kolb and Three Wide Life.



Beth Bence Reinke is a columnist, editor and media representative for Skirts and Scuffs. Her column, “Faith on the Frontstretch,” explores the role of faith in motorsports.

Beth is also the author of Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a devotional book geared toward female NASCAR fans. Follow her on Twitter at @bbreinke or email her at bbreinke@skirtsandscuffs.com




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