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Kaitlyn Vincie: NASCAR Journalist, Airbnb Owner and Novelist

Kaitlyn Vincie’s journey from the Dominion State to FOX NASCAR proves most inspirational. (Photo: FOX Sports)

For the past 13 years, Kaitlyn Vincie has been an esteemed, award winning journalist of multiple FOX NASCAR programs. Whether as one of the four primary cohosts of NASCAR RACE HUB, FOX Sports’ weeknight program, NASCAR RACE DAY for NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series races or as a reporter on-site at races, the Warrenton, Virginia, native continues to capitalize on her dreams with diligence, respect and class.

After all, Vincie was a young reporter who worked at a renowned short track in Hampton, Virginia, making the most of her opportunities with the resources around her. Like any aspiring journalist pursuing a career in sports media, the 2010 graduate of Christopher Newport University wanted to tell the stories in a fair, informative and original way.

“It is hard to believe. I came from the local short track world, working at Langley Speedway for several years, filming reports out of a spare room in my house with a green screen and a camera,” Vincie said. “I set up myself just hoping for that big break. Just hoping that somebody would find an opportunity for me. And fortunately, it was the FOX family, and I’ve been with them since I was 24 years old. And it is wild.”

Before Vincie worked with the FOX Sports team, she filed YouTube reports for Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway, updating fans on the latest happenings at the 0.397-mile short track. In 2011, Vincie hosted a weekly YouTube series called “Hot for NASCAR” which featured her perspectives on the stories in stock car’s top divisions and interviews with the sport’s trendsetters.

Her originality and authenticity resonated well with fans, personalities and a thriving media outlet that featured her vlog series.

“I’m not sure what exactly crossed my mind and why I initially started doing those home YouTube reports,” Vincie said. “I do know that at the time, I wasn’t sure if we were going to secure sponsorship to do a second year at Langley Speedway with the TV show we were doing there.

“So, I was starting to feel a little panicked that there was not going to be any opportunities for me to be talking about racing on camera. And I was like, well, I will just make my own opportunity. I’ll just start talking about the sport in front of my own camera to get the repetitions and to get the practice.

“And what’s crazy is that it actually worked. All of a sudden, Scene Daily picked up my YouTube reports, and then my reports are sitting next to Bob Pockrass’ work on Scene Daily, which I probably didn’t deserve to be there. Let’s be honest, Bob is Bob Pockrass. But what I was doing was different. It wasn’t written journalism. It was just like these sort of simple NASCAR updates on whatever happened in the race over the course of the weekend.”

Vincie did not have a playbook on how to navigate the social media landscape. In a way, she set the trend for how digital journalists pursue stories and voice opinions in a critical but informative manner.

“Social media was just kind of coming along at that time. Twitter was pretty new. Instagram was very much in its infancy stages,” she recalled. “It might not have even been running yet, but none of that was really a thing. So, YouTube obviously had been around for a while, and I saw that as an opportunity to just promote my work of freeway, to post videos of myself talking about the sport so people could see my presence, hear my voice, see if I had any actual talent.”

By all means, Vincie possessed remarkable, unique talent as a storyteller who made each race, driver, team and personality the most important focus points. Prior to the start of her 13th season with FOX NASCAR, Vincie counted her blessings.

“This time of year, I always kind of reflect back on that and think about how that all came together and how fortunate I was that someone believed in me,” she said. “It’s been an amazing ride. I’ve gotten to do a little bit of everything at this point. I’ve covered every single series that we have within NASCAR. I’ve covered Supercross (and) Moto racing also for FOX Sports. It’s just been a huge honor to represent that company, to be a face of this sport that I love so much.”

For some, realizing a dream means notoriety and success. Others may enjoy celebrity and respect. At age 36, Vincie is still the humble, down-to-earth Virginian who is young at heart even with the rigors and demands of a 10-month NASCAR season.

“Every season is different and provides new storylines and exciting things are always happening, so it feels like there’s never a dull moment within this career and within this sport, specifically,” she said. “So, I’m still 13 years (into my journey). I still feel every time I pull up to FOX Sports that I’m living my teenage dream, and it never feels like going to work.

“People always say, ‘Does it feel like work?’ It really doesn’t. And I think that’s the beauty of when you find something that you’re truly passionate about or something that you really, really wanted to do. Once you get the opportunity to do it, it’s not a job. It’s just like an extension of yourself.”

Living the Dream

From the studio to the racetrack, Kaitlyn Vincie lives her dreams as a respected motorsports journalist for FOX NASCAR. (Photo: William Hauser | FOX Sports)

Much like racers who worked their way from their local short tracks, Vincie recognizes the platforms and tools that young journalists can capitalize on with some ingenuity.

“I always encourage young people to ask me about, ‘What are the first steps?’ And I think nowadays, social media is a great tool,” Vincie said. “It’s a great resource to use to promote yourself, to get your work in front of eyes that wouldn’t maybe typically see it.

“So, the landscape has significantly changed on how you can make it in journalism, and the different things you can do to get experience and get repetitions. It is funny to think back on that time and why I chose that. And maybe being one of the first in the NASCAR space to be doing it… I think a lot of people have probably forgotten about it.”

Nowadays, Vincie is known for her works on FOX NASCAR but longtime racing fans and personalities recognize her from her years with Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia, along with some familiar faces in today’s NASCAR Cup Series field.

“I think most people associate me with Langley, which was a big part also of my early days, which I’m very proud of because I love the fact that I came from the grassroots racing much like a racer,” she said. “We all started on that level. I was interviewing Chase Elliott and Bubba Wallace and guys when they were really young, when Chase still had braces.

“So, we all kind of just rose through the sport together, as I was on the journalism path, and they were on the competition side. And I think that’s really neat. I think I love being able to tell that story of where all of this journey first started out, and then, of course, reflecting back on it now, it is pretty surreal to see how it all came together.”

Throughout the past 14 years, Vincie has not only evolved, personally and professionally, but she has seen such progress with today’s superstars, all from a unique lens.

“With Chase, just remembering when I first met him, and now he’s a champion… I mean, he went on to win a championship in the Cup Series,” Vincie shared. “It’s really neat and I love that. I’ve had a front row seat to a lot of the guys my age, their careers and watching them grow into the competitors that they are today and seeing everything that they achieve, it’s very special.

“And I think that’s what’s neat about being a journalist is you’re along for the ride with them. You’re reporting on the highs, you’re reporting on the lows, everything in between. And so, there’s just this natural connection you feel to the people on the competition side in the sport because you’re embedded with all of this with them.”

Regardless of location, the sport or opportunity, Vincie offered her perspective on how young, aspiring journalists can thrive in today’s competitive field.

“I would say start local, you know, go to your local racetracks, see if they have a need for a social media reporter, see if they have a big screen that they use a reporter for,” she said. “There’s so many different types of media jobs out there now. Yes, they may not be at the network level, but they are a good place for you to get repetitions, to gain experience, to get comfortable in front of the camera, to get comfortable with the art of interviewing.”

No matter the accolades, experiences and successes, Vincie considers the most essential quality that any journalist should have — humility.

“Look into yourself and ask, what is motivating you to do this? Is it the storytelling and the journalism side? Because for me, that’s what it always was,” Vincie said. “I never looked at this job like, oh, this is something that’s going to bring in money or fame or whatever it is. I never thought about any of that.

“I thought about the storytelling journalism side, which to me is the most important of all. If that is not at the root of why you want to do this, I’m not really sure what the point is because it’s about telling the stories of the people in the industry and being able to create something for your viewers or your listeners that’s special.”

Likewise, Vincie recognizes one of the catalysts with sports and society that are inherent and timeless as the stories, the names and places.

“Let’s be honest… people watch sports to escape from everyday life,” Vincie said. “They want to watch something that’s going to impact their day in a positive manner. So, if you can create a feature or a story or a written article that does that, that’s achieving something special, in my opinion. So those are the things that definitely motivated me from a young age. They still do, to this day.

“Finding those local opportunities, those smaller gigs, whether it’s in a digital space, whether it’s at a stadium that you want to work out for some particular sport, they usually hire people to do reporting for their big screens and things like that. So, you just have to think outside the box a little bit on different places that you could get a gig.”

Keeping focused and disciplined are paramount along with the willingness to connect with others with grace and dignity. Through the short track scene and digital journalism landscape, Vincie remembered to be genuine and diligent with her efforts in covering motorsports.

“A huge part of it is networking. Everyone will say that is who you meet along the way, that you might impress, who will remember you for something when a job does come up,” she said. “I think that’s one of the most important things… just kind of carrying yourself in a good way and just letting people know what it is you want to do without being overbearing and the rest will come together. I’ve seen it for so many people happen that way.”

Counting Stars

From Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway in Hampton Virginia, to NASCAR RACE HUB with Shannon Spake, Adam Alexander and Josh Sims, Kaitlyn Vincie remains the diligent, down-to-earth journalist who joined FOX Sports in 2012. (Photo: FOX Sports)

No matter one’s profession or trade, the breakthrough moment is a lot like launching a rocket into space. It is not whether dreams can come true but when those aspirations become reality.

For Vincie, she found herself asking the rhetorical questions when she pursued her dreams to be a motorsports journalist.

“I think I got pretty discouraged there for a little while because I was sending out so many resumes,” Vincie said. “I was going through some pretty big interview processes, and I wasn’t getting chosen. And that is discouraging because you start to question your abilities.

“You question your talent level… is it me? Why is no one giving me an opportunity? But if you just keep your head down and you keep working hard, and you keep finding ways to make yourself different from everybody else doing it, at some point the right person will give you a yes.”

Despite those understandable, relatable thoughts, Vincie’s breakthrough moment came in 2012 while she balanced many demands.

“That’s exactly what happened for me. And it was very unexpected. I was working as a waitress, working at a tanning salon and working at Langley when I got an email from Steve Craddock at SPEED Channel and FOX Sports saying, ‘Hey, I think I have something for you,’” she said. “And we had been corresponding for years. I would always send him an updated reel, but he just didn’t have a job yet. There was no opening.

“It wasn’t necessarily a knock on me. There just was nothing available. And I will remember that day for the rest of my life, along with the day where Scott Ackerson, who was overseeing SPEED, called me to say, ‘I’m also going to put you on TV.’”

Considering the amazing stories, experiences and progress for Vincie in her journalism career, she does not have to look too far to replay that breakthrough moment.

“I still have that voicemail on my phone to this day from 2012, because I will never delete it because it symbolizes the start of my whole life,” Vincie said with a smile. “So, I think I would tell myself, just be patient. Don’t be frustrated when people say no because it’s going to work out for you eventually, because you’re you and you don’t stop working hard.”

For those on the outside, the world of NASCAR seems glamorous and posh. 38 races in multiple, key markets may seem like a great adventure to many.

Then again, Vincie recognizes the challenges that come with the demands and efforts needed to be at her best, whether for her family at FOX Sports or her family of two.

“It’s been 13 years now, so I know it’s a grind,” she said. “I think it’s changed for me now in the sense, because I am a parent, I’m married, and I have two very young kids. So, the grind when I was a single person, it wasn’t as noticeable. Now, because of the family side, you have so many different parts of yourself that you’re managing all the time. The logistics, I think, is the hardest part.

“I just always have to remind myself, ‘OK, (during) the certain points in the season when it starts to get hard, plan ahead. Make sure you have moments where you can decompress, make sure you have all your child care lined up. Make sure you know the different things are set up so that you won’t get super overwhelmed.’ That’s the biggest thing that I have to do. And to remind myself and I would say that that is largely changed just due to the fact of being a mom of two, married to a crew chief in the Cup Series who’s traveling nonstop, that’s the hardest part.”

Certainly, Vincie realizes how it takes a village to balance all aspects of life, personally and professionally. For the multifaceted journalist and her husband, Blake Harris, crew chief of Alex Bowman’s No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 entry fielded by Hendrick Motorsports, they try their best to be present for each other and their young family.

Kaitlyn Vincie cherishes her time with her family, bonding with her son, Dawson. (Photo: Kaitlyn Vincie)

“There’s people behind the scenes who have to pick up for what he can’t physically be around to do,” she observed. “And that is tough because there’s not a lot of couples in the industry where both husband and wife are working and have high profile jobs and a situation like ours. So, I think we’ve struggled to kind of find what that balance is. We’ve struggled to find people that we can relate to in that sense as well.

“So, we have our work cut out for us for sure every year. And I have young kids, not old kids that can do 90% of things on their own. My son is two, so he relies on me a lot. And that’s a hard age. And it’s a very young age, obviously, super dependent on their parents. So, for us, it just takes a lot of coordination, a lot of logistics. We have people that help us. We have to and that’s the only way that it can work.”

Make no mistake, Vincie would not trade anything in her life for what she has gained from her journalism career, far beyond any riches that financial wealth could provide.

“I feel like NASCAR has given me all the great things in life,” Vincie said. “My spouse, my family, my friendships, my career. It’s all because of NASCAR, which is pretty wild when I think about it that way. It just the so many pieces of me are tied to a sport. That’s why it’s not just a sport to me. It’s part of my identity. It’s part of who I am. And I’m proud of that fact. And it’s a really special sport to me because of this.

“That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. I think that people on the outside looking in think, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s so glamorous, and you’re traveling to this race and that race, or you’re in this TV studio.’ And part of it is, but it’s a lot of work and it’s a very long season, and it takes a tremendous amount of dedication in terms of our family from both parties. (With) my husband… that’s not a job. That’s a life. When you’re a crew chief at a top team like that, it takes a tremendous amount of sacrifice and dedication.”

Head for the Mountains

There is something to be said about finding solace in a place that provides serenity and harmony, no matter the landscape. For Vincie, the mountains speak to her and her family, a setting she does not have to travel too far to find tranquility.

Following the onset of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Vincie and Harris decided to acquire some properties within driving distance of the Charlotte metropolitan area.

“We have some properties in the mountains about two hours from here, Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, North Carolina, and we always loved the mountains and going hiking with the kids,” Vincie said. “There’s something about the mountains that really calls me and speaks to me. I would rather look at a mountain scape than the beach, honestly.

“And so, we kind of wanted to get a property up there. But then we thought, why don’t we monetize it and actually have it as a rental and create something special for other people to enjoy? So that was kind of how we set out to do that. It was after the pandemic, so people were starting to travel again and getting out of their homes and doing things.”

The genesis of owning and managing Airbnb properties was not taken lightly for Vincie. Fortunately, she did not have to go too far for insightful advice about this venture.

“We also had a very good friend of ours who was already doing an Airbnb and kind of told us about their process and why they had enjoyed it, and sort of turned us on to the idea,” she observed. “And then there was another man who works at FOX Sports in camera operations, who also had one in a different mountain town called Boone, North Carolina.

“So, I hit him up and like sat down with him, talked to him a lot about it, just like different things to keep in mind before we launched one. And he gave me a lot of advice on the process, which was hugely helpful.”

After acquiring the first Airbnb property in the mountains, Vincie had her work cut out for her to create the quality experience — literally.

The mountains called to Kaitlyn Vincie and her family in the form of her first Airbnb property following the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Kaitlyn Vincie)

“It was a long process, I will tell you, because the man that moved out of that home left everything there, from his eyeglasses to shoes under the bed to medicine in the cabinet,” she said. “It was almost like you just walked out the door, which was a bit unusual because that wasn’t really what we had agreed upon. So, the first several months was just moving all of his stuff out of the home.

“Then the renovation process began, which I loved the interior of it because it was a true like log cabin feel, wood interior feel. But I wanted carpets, updated flooring, updated countertops, light fixtures, hardware, appliances… I mean, we did a pretty big rehaul on it, so that took months to do. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but people move at a glacial pace in the mountains. There’s a reason they call it mountain time. It’s slow. It’s just like a slower pace of living, and that’s fine. But it just it took a while, so we were able to finally launch it.”

Several months later, Vincie and her family experienced their first victory with their mountainside Airbnb. Suffice to say, like with her journalism career, her experiences as an Airbnb proprietor has been about achieving excellence with due diligence.

“I remember when we got that first booking, it was so cool,” she said with a grin. “It’s almost like when you make your very first dollar, if you’ve started a business, people always frame their first dollar. It was cool because we’re like, ‘Alright, we got our first booking, someone’s coming to stay with us.’ And now, we’ve had over 80 five star reviews. We have had six times ‘Superhost’ status through Airbnb which is hard to achieve because it’s based on certain qualifications and metrics on five star reviews, basically (with) the satisfaction level of your stays, your clients, if you will, your renters.

“So, I’m proud of that fact it’s labeled as a guest favorite up in that area because there is a decent amount of competition up there. And people have gone to our homes to celebrate birthdays, honeymoons, anniversary. They’ve gone there to mourn a loss. They write all this in our guest book.”

Through all the hard work and effort, Vincie recalled the core takeaway of journalism with her clients who stay at her distinct, cozy Airbnb properties.

“It goes back to what I was saying with storytelling and making an impact on other people, giving them something positive, having a positive experience in their life,” Vincie said. “When everyone went through the pandemic, which was so hard for many people for a lot of reasons, it was neat to create something that allowed families and individuals to make memories and make positive memories, and that has been the best part of all of it.”

Each of those great ratings and testimonials start from Vincie and her family ensuring each experience is memorable from the start. Like an independent racing team, there is a sense of pride and satisfaction with fully seeing the process through.

“I also love doing all the decorating,” she said. “I do it all myself. We don’t have anybody manage it for us. We truly do all the bookings, all of the correspondents, all of the decorating, the renovating.

“It’s all us. We don’t have a management company. We do have a woman who works for us up there that helps clean it and turn the property. Other than that, it’s us. It’s our baby. So, it’s sometimes stressful, but it’s very rewarding.”

From a personal standpoint, Vincie enjoyed conceptualizing and working on the layout of the Airbnb properties. Namely, she combined her creativity with the world of motorsports, making it a hit for those living in the fast lane or at a glacial pace.

“It was so fun to do the designs for them because I would literally draw the rooms out, draw out the floor plans and start drawing a placement of different furniture of how I could envision it looking,” Vincie said. “And that very first one we had had some unique spaces that were small and kind of odd shaped, that were a little challenging to figure out exactly what type of furniture and what the layout was going to be (and) how we could best utilize the spaces.”

“The basement turned out really neat, which was a strange, kind of awkward situation shape that we turned into a vintage NASCAR game room,” she explained. “We wanted something to pay homage to racing. Of course, it had to! So that bottom room is really neat. We’ve had a number of people stay, whether from racing industry friends or people who are race fans, that I think really appreciate that part of the house.”

How to Save the Queen City

It is no surprise how Vincie found her calling as a motorsports journalist. Her creative output and perspective is like a 670-horsepower Cup Series stock car ready for any challenges in her way.

In January of 2023, Vincie published her first novel, Save the Queen City, a best selling book on Amazon. For the Virginian, it was a true labor of love that harkened to her youth in terms of creative writing.

“So, I took fiction writing in college,” Vincie said. “I would say writing truly was my first love before any of this happened. When I was a very young kid, I would write short stories for my parents as Christmas gifts. Sure, they didn’t really want these, but for whatever reason, that’s what I did. I would give them stories that I had written.

“My parents always said, ‘You have a very natural ability with writing.’ And I really enjoyed the fiction writing courses that I took in college, and I told myself, ‘Someday I will write something.’ And then it took me five years to write Save the Queen City. I had the idea kind of come to me. I loved the thriller genre. It’s one of my favorites to read, personally.”

Writing articles about sports figures takes a disciplined approach with a respect toward the individuals and entities being covered. It is another thing to write a thriller novel that resulted in 312 pages of Vincie’s trademark dedication, creativity and determination.

“The main character is a news reporter, so of course, I’m drawing from my own experiences working in journalism and her being assigned to a series of murder cases that are happening here in the Queen City of Charlotte, North Carolina,” she explained. “So that was sort of how the story began. It’s a long process, especially from the editorial standpoint.

“It went through major editorial revisions. I had an all women team that helped me on this, on this from the sort of big edits to changing major portions of the characters and the stories and the flow to the copy editing, to the woman who designed the cover with me, it was all females, which is really cool, and I met some great people through that process.”

Teamwork made the dream work for Vincie’s novel, an incredible achievement for a journalist who covers a very grueling but action packed sports industry. Like a songwriter such as Billy Joel or Taylor Swift, there will be a new story to enjoy in good time.

“I’m proud that I was able to write a story that people have enjoyed,” Vincie said. “It ended up becoming a best seller on Amazon in its genre, which was really neat to see that the day that happened.

“I’m definitely not ruling out writing another one. I posted recently that I’ve started a new book, but I am very much in the preliminary stages on this, so you’ll have to stay tuned for it!”

Ultimately, Vincie understands that these incredible experiences and opportunities would not have made it past the cutting room floor if she did not have an open mind. Beyond having a thick skin, it is about embracing feedback for genuine growth, no matter the discipline.

“It’s the same working in TV. If you can’t take criticism and feedback, don’t work in television,” she said. “Just don’t because you will be critiqued. And that’s part of their job is to make us better. And so, I welcome criticisms. I ask for it every season because you can always improve.

“Fortunately for me, I do have thick skin because of my job in TV, which helped when editors came back and were like, ‘This is… I don’t like this. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. This scene is pretty weak. You need to improve X.’ And that’s fine. That’s how it should be. That’s why you have those people there to help make you better. And I definitely feel that in both the TV and the book world.”

Editor’s Notes

Special thanks to Kaitlyn Vincie of FOX NASCAR for sharing her story and journey, in-depth, here on The Podium Finish! Follow Kaitlyn via her social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and X now!

Also, special thanks to Megan Englehart for her kindness and support with this latest feature story about the talented FOX NASCAR team. Look for more stories about Kaitlyn and the FOX NASCAR crew throughout the 2024 season!

Rob Tiongson is a 30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught his eyes. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by him or by one of his talented columnists who have a passion for racing. Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. He enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson, a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, pursues his Master of Arts in Digital Journalism at St. Bonaventure University. Indeed, while Tiongson is proud to be from Massachusetts, he's an everywhere kind of man residing in Texas.

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