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Georgia Henneberry on her Motorsports Reporting: “It’s like a dream come true”

Conducted and Written by Maria Rodriguez, Edited by Sean McKean


Image Credit: IndyCar

Interview was conducted in September 2023.


Since joining the NBC Sports team, Georgia Henneberry can be seen reporting IndyCar, Indy NXT, NASCAR, and IMSA just to name a few. Aside from seeing her on Peacock, you can also find her work on FloRacing. Before she found herself reporting from pitlanes, she could also be found behind the wheel of a kart or even barrel racing with horses. 


“No, that was great. That’s what my mom did before. My family wasn’t really involved in motorsports or anything like that. She barrel raced herself. So growing up, that’s what we did, and we kind of ran out of money for that.”


Getting a Start

That all changed one day when she had caught a NASCAR race playing and decided to get into motorsports herself. 


“I remember specifically the day and the time that we decided we were going to get into motorsports,” she said. “We were sitting at lunch and I was watching NASCAR on TV. And I said to my mom, ‘that would be really cool to do one day,’ as in driving, and she was like, ‘yeah, that would be really cool maybe.’ And I was young, I mean, I was probably 13 at the time maybe.” 


“My mom is super supportive. So she’s like, ‘we’ll figure out a way to get into it.’ And so, the next day, we had a meeting with Marga Racing which is a car manufacturer in Saint Louis.”


She recalls that she met the owner, Keith, who she considers to be close to her family, the next day. She got fitted in her go-kart here. 


“We started going to the track with him and fast forward, a year later, I was on the factory team with him. We were traveling the country racing and everything, and I thought, ‘yeah, I think I’m gonna be a race car driver. This is cool.’” 


“And then, the same situation where we just were trying to move up and up the ladder. I ended up racing some micros and whatnot. But like I said, we just didn’t have any money for it. So, then I started working at Worldwide Technology Raceway and met some amazing people through there, including Levi Jones and his wife Heidi Jones and they went to go be the race at the United States Auto Club,” she shared.


They reached out to her with the opportunity of a lifetime that she couldn’t turn down. 


“They were like, ‘we’re really looking for this kind of position that would do social media and go live on Facebook,’ and all that kind of stuff. ‘Would you be interested in that?’ I was like, ‘what you’re telling me: I can go to the races for free and get paid to actually be there? And I get to post on social media? Like, that’s great.’”


Henneberry explains the snowball effect that this brought into her life and how she was enjoying what she was doing in her life.


“So I started doing that, and then that kind of turned into, ‘hey, you know, would you be able to interview quickly’, or something like that? I’m like, ‘sure I can give it a try.’” To which she then admits, “I was really bad at it.” 


Regardless, Henneberry loved this opportunity. “I really enjoyed it and it gave me something to latch onto because I was right in high school. So it was kind of, you’re trying to figure out what you wanna do. And I knew I wanted to be in motorsports in some way, shape, or form.”


“But yeah, so it kind of gave me something to try and get better at and everything and one job led to another, and I emailed about a million people every other day trying to get jobs and ended up getting an opportunity with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”


Henneberry marks this point in her life as the start of her reporting for IndyCar. She shares, “And so that’s what kind of started the IndyCar route of everything and I fell in love with that. So then it kind of snowballed even more. And then now I get to travel the full IndyCar circuit and it’s incredible.”


When asked if she had a specific moment in her life when she decided that she wanted to work and pursue this job as her full-time career, she responded:


“I really enjoyed working with USAC, and then when it kind of transitioned into the reporting side of things. They were also diving more into creating a broadcast - like a national broadcast - as well. You could stream races before, but they were definitely putting a lot more time and effort into trying to make it more of a show and things like that,” she continued. 


She recalls her first year of broadcasting and said it was “...For the fans of the racetrack and then it got turned into this like national broadcast type.”


“...FloRacing came in and so it got, there was just kind of one more step above and so I was just getting into college and whatnot. And I think when Flo came in and was like, ok, this is what we want and we’re kind of, there were more, you always want to do your best, but there were more expectations.”


That is when Henneberry realized there was more to this, which is exactly what she would pursue as her future. She knew journalism was what she would major in college, but ultimately, she majored in communications. Regardless of her major of choice, she has done it all and has moved up her way into NBC Sports, becoming a broadcaster for their team throughout various motorsports coverage. 


However, she remained connected to the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 


“USAC is based right here in Indianapolis, right across the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. So going to the office all the time, I would just look at the speedway and be like, ‘oh wow that’s so cool.’ Like maybe I can do reporting there one time and be there." 


Now she is an in-house pit reporter and the pit reporter for IndyCar and she says, “It’s like a dream come true.”


Furthermore, she still says there’s more to add, calling it a progression, and doesn’t believe she is at her full potential. 


“I was like other people. I’m like, ‘wow, they’re so good at that.’ And that’s how I want to be one day, or, like get there one day. So there’s definitely still a lot of stuff that I want to do better.”


Keeping up with the Chaos


When asked if she had anyone she looked up to or if she had any inspiration for her career, the answer was yes. 


“I mean, basically anytime I’m at the track, still, there are so many people. I mean, just on the broadcast now for whether it be NASCAR, IndyCar, or even dirt racing and stuff, like even if I’m on the broadcast, like I’ll be working with people,” she said.  “It happens a lot when I do the IndyCar radio broadcast because something that I feel like I’m just not there yet is calling pit stops. 


“It’s fast, it’s hard, everything is happening and you’re calling it how you’re seeing it and everything like that.”


“And my coworkers, I’m always like, wow, after we all get together and be like, oh great job, great job. And afterward, I’m like wow I just aspire one day to just be able to do that. And so I think with repetition it’ll probably happen.”


However, she wouldn’t name one specific person that she uses as inspiration, calling every person she works with or doing an IndyCar broadcast an inspiration. 


“I bounce around to a lot of different types of motorsports. So, usually, pretty much every broadcast that I do.”


When asked how a typical race day goes she described it as “...super crazy in my position because I bounce around between doing the screen.” She explains that the warm-up session that happens before the race gives the chance to interview the drivers before the session, which creates energy for fans. 


Everywhere at Once


Henneberry juggles many broadcasts, as she does the IndyNXT series for Peacock, the same day IndyCar has their races. Once she is done covering IndyNXT, she comes back with a different shirt to cover the radio broadcast for IndyCar. 


“So usually Sundays are the busiest days, obviously with it being race day, but it makes the day go by a lot faster too because there is so much going on. I feel like from the time you get to the track in the morning to the time you leave, you like, haven’t sat down. So it’s great.”


When Georgia was asked about her favorite thing to cover about motorsports she responded, “Oh that’s hard because I feel like everything has its own things, that I really enjoy, and maybe some things that I don’t so much like.”


Although she spends plenty of time covering motorsports at the highest levels, Henneberry still keeps up with her roots in dirt racing.


“I grew up with it and was involved with it for so many years and, you know, my boyfriend’s still racing dirt, so we’re very involved in the dirt scene and stuff like that.” 


However she says she has “fallen in love” with IndyCar. 


“Like just that type of racing the way, everything it’s all put together the weekend and a whole type thing too. So I don’t know if there’s one specific form that I like more than others, but I think everything really has things that I really love and things that maybe I don’t so much,” she said 


She explained the massive difference that comes with these events and covered them as she has experienced them both. 


“Like, with dirt racing, you show up to a racetrack and you do your full show in a span of four hours, whereas with IndyCar, you’ll get to a track on Thursday and you don’t leave until Sunday or Monday. So it’s just, you can do five dirt racing events in the span of time that you can do one IndyCar, one NASCAR event, and stuff. So dirt racing is super fast-paced and, it’s just different in its own way, but it’s great.”


Most Memorable Moment?


Georgia can be seen giving drivers interviews from many different series, and she considers some things when it comes to asking them questions. She also got the chance to interview Alex Palou after the Laguna Seca race, when he received the championship trophy. However, she describes this to be very “spur of the moment.” 


“I didn’t know that I was gonna get to do it and we were all there. There were three of us on pit lane and we were all running around trying to get second, third, fourth, fifth. One of us was trying to get Dixon, who had won the race and then we thought maybe by the time he was done with that, he could come over and get Palou.” 


She took her chances on this interview and shared, “But the celebration was already starting and it was like, ‘well, I’m here so I will try to get it’ and stuff… I wish that I had a little bit more time to prepare, but overall the situation itself is just so fun.”


Image Credit: Instagram - Georgia Henneberry

“It’s so exciting. He got crowned champion last weekend, but this weekend he’s standing next to the trophy-type thing. So, that’s the kind of angle that I went for.”


The Art Behind the Craft


She calls these storylines and follows them throughout the weekend. She explained that things can just happen throughout the different sessions of the weekends that she likes to focus on and asks about them. However, she also says that research is important in these things to be fully prepared.


“I try to be as prepped as, you know, I can be coming into a weekend to feel confident. And if I see a driver and they say, ‘hey, go interview,’ or, ‘we need an interview,’ or something like that, you know. I can feel confident going up to anyone and having at least something in my mind to where I’m like, ‘okay, we can talk about this’ or something like that. 


“So let’s say: preparation helps a lot.” 


She also credits the fact that since she travels to all the races for IndyCar, she can talk about other races from past weekends during an interview. 


Adapting with the Times

As previously mentioned, Henneberry started doing content on social media. This has been extremely helpful in reaching different audiences, as it has a great outreach. After being asked how she has adapted to this form of presenting and reaching out to new viewers, she responded: 


“Well, I’ve been doing more content with IndyCar and that’s really fun because the drivers were fun and the concepts are always fun and stuff like that. But when I first started, I was doing a lot of FaceBook lives and it was when that was really big and you get a bunch of views and so many comments and all that stuff,” she said. 


“But I think, new viewer-wise, probably just the sport sells itself. I mean there are always cool things going on. There’s always a storyline and the people make it really exciting too. So even if it’s not me selling it, I feel like the sport of motorsports itself with all the drama and the action and all that stuff sells itself already.”


A Part of the Change

Henneberry is a face that can be seen throughout the entire weekend. She is a part of the increasing number of women who are working in motorsports. This has also increased the interest in women and young girls to want to pursue careers in motorsports. She describes the feeling of herself working in motorsports.


“It’s great. I feel like there are so many women, whether it be on pit lane or who work for IndyCar, you know, work for the teams, work for the tracks. I feel like there are so many women and it’s really nice to see,” she said. 


She is aware of the stigma that comes with women working in motorsports but she has never felt that she was treated any differently because of it and says that if someone did, she didn’t get that impression. 


“I have so many women friends in the paddock and the pits and stuff like that and it’s great,” she shared. 


When asked about whether the future generations will change anything about motorsports, thus inspiring more young girls to want to pursue working in the field of motorsports, she responds: 


“Yeah, I would hope so. I think that as time goes on, the stigma even gets less and less.”


She shares that changes are already happening where more women are getting involved. 


“Maybe just because I don’t know if it’s word of mouth or initiative that are going on or just more women involved at every level like even Chip Ganassi Racing, they have a woman in motorsport initiative where it’s like a summer program and then some of the women are offered jobs at the end of it, kind of like an internship,” she explains.


Furthermore, she shares that some of them are even offered permanent jobs:


“And honestly there are so many openings all the time just here and there with teams, whether it be on the mechanical side, the marketing side, and this side, that side, there’s so many different aspects of motorsports that make it one whole that there’s ample opportunity for women to get involved. So I hope so, but I think there’s quite a bit already.” 


A Piece of Advice


She shares a bit of advice for anyone who wants to get involved in any aspect of motorsports.


“If you can, I would say go to events, meeting people, I think is the best possible thing that you could do just knowing people and meeting people. And if you hesitate to, say like, ‘oh, maybe I shouldn’t go introduce myself to that person.


"Like you should, like if you have a doubt that like, ‘oh maybe I shouldn’t’ or anything you definitely should because there have been times where I’ve walked by someone. I’m like, oh, I just don’t know if I should like awkward or anything like that.”


She leads on by saying that it could even lead to a job whether it be now or in the future. 


“It could lead to a job or couldn’t lead, maybe not lead to a job right then. But two years down the line, they’re like, yeah, I remember that girl or guy that I met at this event. They’d be perfect for that and you just never know when someone is going to need something or what connection is going to lead to opportunity. So I would say go to as many events as possible, but then also meeting as many people as you can as well.” 


To end off with, she was asked about how this season went for her and all the people she got to work with saying it went well and it was a good season. Last year she was new to IndyCar and was still learning.


This year she felt much more comfortable as she was no longer new to the tracks and the environment she was surrounded with. She says, “I felt a lot more settled in my positions and a lot more confident in my position. And I think that makes a huge difference and probably comes across in the way that I talk on camera also. So, I think the season was great. It was busy, there was a lot going on, but I feel good.”


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