Fargo - Natalie Sather still gets the adrenaline rush when she’s at the race track, even though she hasn’t been behind the wheel for a few years.
Now, she gets her fix from the camera light illuminating, as opposed to seeing the green flag drop.
“It’s kind of like the same feeling,” said Sather, who is from Fargo.
Sather has transitioned to track reporter after her professional driving career ended in 2012 when she was on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“It took me a couple months to figure out what I wanted to do next,” said Sather, now based in the Charlotte, N.C., area.
Sather has been the pit reporter on the World of Outlaws sprint cars circuit for more than a year, and has recently done a few auto racing spots for NBC.
“It is an honor, for NBC to want me to do that,” Sather said.
The Outlaws are in Knoxville, Iowa, this week. The prestigious Knoxville Nationals start today and run through Saturday.
“I love working for them,” Sather said of the Outlaws.
Sather, 29, had a solid racing career before she decided to move behind the microphone. She was part of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program in 2009, which was her first year racing in asphalt.
Before that, Sather honed her driving skills on dirt tracks, primarily racing sprint cars. Sather started racing and age 9, and chased her driving dream until 2012.
“I always said if I can’t race that I still want to be involved,” Sather said.
The transition to the Outlaws has felt like a natural one, Sather said, due to her knowledge and racing experience and the fact she’s raced against most of the drivers on the circuit.
Sather said because she has a good rapport with the drivers, she’s “able to respectfully give them a hard time.”
One example came last season. Sather jokingly told Daryn Pittman that “second place is only the first loser” in a post-race interview.
“His face was priceless,” Sather said with a laugh. “It was so funny.”
The next weekend Pittman got back at Sather during another post-race interview, dumping his filled water bottle over Sather’s head.
“They put it all together in a real cool video story,” Sather said of a video that is on YouTube.
Sather said trying to keep questions fresh when she interviews some drivers multiple times in the same night over the course of a long season is a challenge.
That’s why Sather likes when she’s able to draw some of the personality out of the drivers.
“When I finally just lightened up and started talking … is when it started coming more naturally,” she said.
While Sather still gets asked to get back behind the wheel, she’ll likely resist that temptation.
“As much as I miss racing and would love to get back in, I know that at this point, I need to put all my energy toward interviews and furthering my career as a reporter,” Sather said. “I’m at the point of my life where I need to focus on one career.”