Vrooooom. Just like the drivers on the track, the pr professionals behind the scenes of auto racing are also used to fast-paced action. From traveling across the country for different races, to ensuring positive stories are published in the press, the life of a public relations director in this industry is anything but easy.
I had the opportunity of meeting Kelly Hale this past June at the Salhen’s 6 Hours of the Glen race at Watkins Glen International. She gave me some great pointers on how to land a coveted job in this business and also agreed to let me interview her when we both came home to Kansas City.
Me: So many young public relations professionals, including myself, hope to work in the auto racing industry, but what most don’t understand is how fast-paced the industry really is. Can you briefly explain your daily responsibilities as director of public relations at Kansas Speedway? And how do those daily responsibilities change during a race weekend?
Kelly: First, this is one of my favorite questions. Unfortunately, (but sometimes fortunately) no two days are alike. The two things I try to do every day are reading the latest local and national news, and I try to reach out to 2-3 reporters each day. From there, it really depends on the time of year. I could be promoting one of the events that we will have staff, I could be assisting with promotion of an event at the track, an upcoming driver appearance, etc. On race weekend, in addition to handling media relations for the Speedway, which includes setting up on site interviews, answering media questions, making sure the media center and press box are staffed and media have the appropriate credentials, I also am responsible for our pre-race activities which include driver introductions, pre-race concerts, post-race concerts, scheduling color guard, invocation and national anthem, making sure the appropriate people are introduced at the driver’s meetings, escorting VIPs and assigning driver/owner motorcoach spaces for the weekend. Fortunately, I have a great media center staff that can essentially run the media center without me! The staff is able to answer about 95% of the questions we get, which helps me be able to focus on the large items that need to be taken care of during a weekend.