Charese Fruge’ Talks To Kim Coon
This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “The Bigger Picture” series, written by Charese Fruge on February 22, 2022
She currently serves as a pit road reporter for Motor Racing Network (MRN) in all three national NASCAR series. When she isn’t at a racetrack, she’s busy hosting digital assets and live events for NASCAR. Kim also regularly joins the morning news broadcast for WCCB TV–Charlotte’s ‘The CW’ affiliate. “Being in the pit is CHAOTIC, but fun,” she says. “And interviewing drivers after their first career win are always the most exciting experiences with my job.”
It wasn’t NASCAR that got her into the business, it was broadcasting. “My undergrad degree is in broadcasting. I always had a love for sports, but not specifically racing,” she says. “I kind of stumbled into my first role in NASCAR as Miss Sprint Cup and then was able to evolve that into a career on the broadcasting side.”
It’s turned out to be a great ride for her. “Getting to be a part of historic moments is probably the coolest thing about my job,” says Coon. “When I was Miss Sprint Cup, I got to be in Victory Lane for Trevor Bayne’s 2011 win with the Woods Brothers, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s 2014 Daytona 500 win and Jeff Gordon’s fifth Brickyard 400 win. Those are just a few examples of some awesome and historic moments I have been a part of. The excitement of the drivers and teams in those moments are what makes my job fun.”
“The coolest thing I have gotten to do with MRN is ride with the Thunderbirds. They took me up in their fighter jet and my name was even on the side of the plane! My dad was a commercial airline pilot for over 40 years before he retired and he was so jealous, but also so excited for me,” she explains. “For my show ‘Off the Grid,’ I got to do a two-seater ride around Laguna Seca with Mario Andretti. These are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and I definitely do not take them for granted!”
Here is the good news about the NASCAR side of the broadcast business according to Kim, “Women play a lot of important roles in the industry – everything from team owner, public relations, drivers, pit crew members, engineers and broadcasters. The sport wouldn’t be what it is today without the women who work in it. There is always room for growth as long as you are looking for it and willing to work for it!” she explains. “The most challenging thing is not comparing yourself or your work to others. It can be hard sometimes, because there are so many talented people. But the key is to figure out what you can learn from them, instead of comparing yourself to them.”
A few things you should know about Kim: She was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and got her bachelor’s from the University of Miami, FL, where she double majored in Broadcasting and Religious Studies. She received her master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications from the University of Alabama. While attending Miami, Kim was a member of the university’s dance team. She also spent two seasons cheering in the NFL for the Carolina Panthers. She currently resides in Charlotte, NC, and loves getting her hands dirty with DIY home improvement projects, antique hunting, and painting. She is also an avid reader and is always eager to loan from her collection of books. In her spare time, she likes playing with her dog, spending time with family and friends, and trying new restaurants.
Not much keeps Kim up at night. “Occasionally big work projects will keep me up with planning and thinking about how to accomplish them. But otherwise, I sleep well,” she says. As for balance, “Knowing at the end of the day, all that matters is that I have a family who loves me puts things in perspective pretty easily.”
As for what’s a head for Kim, since the NASCAR season has just kicked off, she’s super slammed, but we’ll see lots more coverage from Kim and she’s hinted at a few new roles for her in the business in the near future. I can’t wait to see what they are.
Follow Kim Coon on all social platforms @kimmiecooon