ESPN "NASCAR Countdown" host Nicole Briscoe is spending time this week prepping the nursery in her North Carolina home for her first child, a daughter due in early December. Considering that the NASCAR season starts in February and ends in late November, the timing couldn't be better.
"It's amazing, we lucked out," Briscoe said of her and husband, IZOD IndyCar Series driver Ryan Briscoe. "Sometimes things just happen [the way they should]."
To that end, Briscoe isn't sweating the things she can't control -- namely, the fact that ESPN will stop broadcasting NASCAR after 2014. Fox and NBC outbid ESPN for NASCAR's broadcast rights.
She'd much rather chat about all the things she's going to be doing in the next year, including hosting NASCAR Contenders Live, a fan event in Chicago on Sept. 12 leading up to the Chase for the Championship opener at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 15. She'll be heading close to her hometown of Roscoe, Ill., and holding court with the 12 Chase drivers, likely including perennial contender/cutup Clint Bowyer.
"You never know where he's going," Briscoe says of a Bowyer diatribe. "You just hope it'll be remotely PC."
Those kinds of relationships are what Briscoe says she holds most dear about her job. She recently had an hour-long car pool to the track with former NBA center turned NASCAR analyst/car owner Brad Daugherty, a man known on air for deftly talking about shock packages one minute and which tailgate picnic he's going to raid the next.
"He had me laughing to the point of tears a couple of times," Briscoe said of the ride. "Anytime you can start your day with that, you're sitting pretty for the rest of the day."
Although she's under contract with ESPN, she says she is allowed to talk about opportunities elsewhere in the future. But she is much more determined to enjoy the time with the "amazing" people she works with and not just "count down the days."
"This can be a chance to grow, maybe mix things up," Briscoe says about what she'll do after the 2014 season ends. "Sometimes change is really good. We've seen where change can be really good on the track. The same thing can be said for me. I'm really excited about what the future may hold.
"ESPN doesn't just have NASCAR, ESPN has a lot of things."
If she stays, just don't count on seeing her as part of ESPN's coverage of the Indianapolis 500 on ABC. That's Ryan Briscoe's biggest racing day of the year, and the only role she wants to play that day is supportive wife to the man she married in 2009.
"He's my priority," Briscoe said of him racing. "I don't want to have to pretend like I care about someone else [winning]."