Waack-ing the walk: Terrin Waack’s award-winning work in NASCAR changes the game

Like her last name is pronounced, NASCAR.com writer Terrin Waack walks the walk, but she’ll let her achievements do the talking.

In January, Waack won the 2020-21 National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year award, a prestigious accomplishment bestowed upon a writer within the motorsports industry. She earned it for various pieces of work, including:

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Waack has worked for NASCAR since July 2019. Prior to her current run in Charlotte, North Carolina, Waack was a beat writer for The Tuscaloosa News with a focus on University of Alabama athletics, which is also where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in journalism. Her work has also been featured for the Associated Press and in The Chicago Tribune.

Waack is the first woman in NASCAR.com history and third woman ever to win the NMPA Writer of the Year award.

“I love supporting females in the industry,” Waack told NASCAR.com. “Don’t get me wrong, you need to earn it. But, I think when you earn it and when you’re doing well, you deserve the support and recognition. So, to get that support and recognition as not only a female, but as a writer, meant so much to me. It was a huge shock.”

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The above interview with Waack via Zoom showcased just two of five total awards she earned during the awards ceremony. What is just as telling regarding her accomplishments is the countless lanyards hanging beside them, which contain media credentials from national and international events she has covered throughout her career.

“They are all different,” Waack said. “There’s football, NASCAR, Formula E, boxing, golf and even a gaming championship. I’ve covered so many different things and they all have a special place in my heart. To see them is a reminder of what all I have done and what more I can do.”

Waack’s passion for sports transfers over to her personal life. In her spare time, she loves to run long distance and participate in boxing classes. She completed her first marathon in December 2021 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

The juxtaposition of her personal and professional life exhibits a constant focus in striving for perfection — on the run to improve her physical fitness each day, but never willing to run away in the face of adversity — hitting a challenge head-on and with success in a profession that is continually evolving.

Her biggest piece of advice to other young women looking to break barriers is to work hard, take all the opportunities you can and don’t be scared to accomplish your goals.

“Any fear I have in going toward a situation, it’s like well, if you don’t do it, then you’re out of a job,” Waack said. “If I don’t get the interview, then I don’t get the story and that’s me not completing my job. That squashes any fear or nervousness I have in a situation.

“Knowing I am employed, I do have a job, I have a spot at the table, whether or not someone believes I deserve it, I don’t care. I have it. It’s mine. You’re not going to take it from me unless you do better than me.”