Away from ‘NASCAR’: Tatiana Calderon on how she became the nation’s first female NASCAR chapter president

by Christopher Cavas President of the NASCAR Writer’s Association (NAWO) and co-host of “The Longest Lap” on FOX31 What does it take to be president of the NASCAR Writer’s Association? To be president of…

Away from ‘NASCAR’: Tatiana Calderon on how she became the nation’s first female NASCAR chapter president

by Christopher Cavas

President of the NASCAR Writer’s Association (NAWO) and co-host of “The Longest Lap” on FOX31

What does it take to be president of the NASCAR Writer’s Association?

To be president of the NASCAR Writer’s Association, you need to follow the constitution and bylaws and have experience as a writer/editor.

But whether you’re a Ford Mustang or a #97 Chevy SS, you are a driver and you need to know what it takes to win.

That’s why when Tatiana Calderon applied for the position, she knew she was the right fit.

She was No. 2 on the list of candidates, trailing only her boss, Mark Vanderbosch of The Denver Post.

And she didn’t quit her job, either.

Last October, Calderon was named president of the U.S. Chapter of the 2015 NAWO, and the 2015 NAWO Global President.

With president elect Tony Ford on top of the NASCAR Forum and @MarkVanderbosch as head of the Global Office, there’s always @Fox31News in the streets of Darlington! pic.twitter.com/YPlAZCtk0K — Christopher Cavas (@ChrisCavas) March 6, 2016

But for a lot of us, it is because she’s been leading the way in race track engineering.

“A lot of people think NASCAR is just a race track for guys, that it’s just about having good car handling,” Calderon said. “But you’ve got to have very, very, very precise driving to be able to run at the front. Your clutch needs to be very precise, your gear ratio needs to be very precise, your tire pressure needs to be fine and everything. You’ve got to be able to go through the whole entire race track correctly. It takes a lot of mental work and it’s not just a nice feeling when you win. It’s another thing you have to study very well, read all the data and know what to do on every single track. You have to become a really good, truly good engineer and a very good driver.”

Calderon said her two years at Cornell University, where she studied mechanical engineering, were “probably my favorite years,” but that she got into journalism and Twitter at an early age.

And of course, she has a passion for race cars.

“(Mentoring and working with young engineers) is something I want to continue to do in my lifetime,” Calderon said. “Maybe when I retire, I want to pass on the same responsibility, but I have to work. Now I have a lot more money and a lot more opportunities, so I have to work a lot more than I did when I was growing up. I think it’s important to teach the younger generation.”

In 2015, Calderon became one of only six journalists at age 31 to gain the Texas Hill Country Emmy Award for writing a revealing profile of Tony Stewart.

She then spent two years working in Texas for NASCAR Insider TV, while she started working at Colorado Monster Energy NASCAR Weekend in Denver, and became the first female chapter president in the NAWO’s 22-year history.

“This chapter made me work harder than I have ever worked before because this group of people made me feel like I was accomplished in some capacity,” Calderon said. “But also I’m learning from them because it’s been a wonderful two years because there’s been a lot of diverse people that have been able to accomplish a lot in a lot of different ways.

“We’re working very, very hard to get to the level that NASCAR needs it to be at, and I can’t say that everyone is completely comfortable with me yet.”

For more information on work with the NASCAR Writers Association, contact Calderon at [email protected]

On March 12, in Daytona Beach, she and numerous other members of the NAWO will meet for the first time, to discuss the issues they need to address.

When they are not in Daytona Beach or Phoenix, members are available for public appearances or to meet the media.

And they all feel they are living the American dream.

Watch “The Longest Lap” on FOX31 Channel 2 every Saturday morning at 6:00 a.m.

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