Charese Fruge’ Talks To Hannah Newhouse

This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “Women To Watch” series, written by Charese Fruge on July 27, 2021 

Hannah Newhouse grew up in the world of Motorsports and actually raced in NASCAR’s regional and local levels in her native Idaho until 2016, when she moved to Charlotte, NC. Today she co-hosts a weekly digital show about NASCAR’s regional and international touring series and drivers. She’s also a Pit Reporter who travels a partial schedule with NASCAR’s national touring series. When the races are live, she is the voice inside the track reporting on what the teams/drivers are saying and what’s happening on the pit road.

Hannah made the decision to transition from being a driver to something she says was more practical, and the next best thing: Media Relations in the world of Motorsports. “I took jobs with small media outlets doing literally everything (writing, shooting, cutting, editing, on-air, you name it),” she says. “That caught the attention of the Motor Racing Network and they offered me an audition for in-studio and live work in spring of 2018 and I have been with them since!”

According to Hannah, one of the most exciting things about her career choice is, “Interviewing some legendary people within the motorsports industry, but more than anything I have gotten to travel A LOT at such a young age. I am so close to all 50 states and have hit well over 100 racetracks.”

“The NASCAR Media business is challenging,” says Hannah, “Because there aren’t many opportunities out there at the moment. There aren’t as many job positions available and the turnover is minimal so trying to ‘break in’ to opportunities is super hard,” says Newhouse. “The number of times I have been told ‘no’ – or simply not responded to at all was super disheartening. But at the end of the day, I kept working at making my craft better and more noticeable so the next time around it would be harder for someone to tell me ‘No.’”

Her advice for women who want to get into the business is solid. “Don’t be afraid of the grind. It’s a lot at times and burnout is real – so also don’t be afraid to prioritize your mental wellbeing,” say Newhouse. “Also, know your worth and don’t let people low-ball you – but also be willing to out-work the next person even if that extends to learning new trades within the industry such as cutting, shooting, and editing. I always tell people to reach out to their local short tracks and see how they can help – that helps the track get exposure and the person wanting work to get more experience.”

The sports world was “rocked” by the pandemic of 2020. The NASCAR world did not escape. “The pandemic brought a huge change. It sidelined our sport for a few months and when we went back, the dynamic was very strange,” she says. “There were no fans at our events- we did all pre-race media coverage via Zoom – masks were required at all times and we used a 4-foot long boom mic most the time. It really was a time of adapting on the fly and learning new ways of creating media/content with the bare minimum.”

Working in Media Relations for the Motorsports/NASCAR industry requires working a full schedule and a lot of travel. What keeps Hannah up at night? “Not knowing if someone is doing something that I should be doing. But it’s something that I can usually talk myself back out of by the end of a Netflix show or something,” she says. As for peace of mind, “My balance gets off kilter sometimes, but only recently have I given myself the power to say ‘No’ to work and make my mental health a priority,” she says. “I like to say I am a workaholic, so being able to forcibly disconnect sometimes has been a huge lifesaver.” Also, she stays busy in her spare time. “In what little free time I end up having, my boyfriend and I usually try and hangout on the lake that we live near or take our dog, Janet, to the mountains. We both also aren’t originally from Charlotte, NC so we spend time visiting his family in Indiana or mine in Idaho.”

As for what we have to look forward to from Hannah, there’s a long list. “This summer has been a big summer for me in expanding my reach – I am working with Motor Racing Network with NASCAR, covering national dirt racing with the WORLD OF OUTLAWS as a Pit Reporter, working as a PxP/Analyst in the booth for a regional short track racing series, and expanding into new forms of motorsports such as MOTORCROSS.

Follow Hannah Newhouse on Instagram: @Hannahnewhouse, Twitter: @HannahNewhouse and Website: hannahnewhouse.com