This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to work as part of the public relations event staff during the October NASCAR race weekend at Kansas Speedway. I knew it was going to be a great experience, what I didn’t know was just how awesome it would be! From running press conferences and driver appearances, to working in the press box and meeting influential people in the media, it definitely solidified my decision to pursue a career in the industry after graduation.
Back in September when I job shadowed the director of public relations at Kansas Speedway, I was presented with this opportunity and let me tell you, I jumped on it! Kansas Speedway hosts two NASCAR race weekends a year and getting the opportunity to work the Chase race weekend especially was just incredible. I even created some business cards so that I was ready to make a good impression on the influential people in the business.
My weekend began on Friday morning at 8 a.m., as I had to pick up my credentials before the influx of media personnel arrived. I spent my day in the Media Center and the Infield performing a variety of tasks that the pr director needed help with. I got some great experience helping set up and run pre-race press conferences, driver appearances and autograph sessions. I even was able to walk through the garage and onto pit road during the first practice session for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and help take photos and video for the Kansas Speedway social media platforms. I also had the opportunity to meet a handful of drivers, although it didn’t hit me who I was meeting until about 20 minutes after I had met them. I guess my professionalism kicked in!
On Saturday and Sunday, I worked in the press box, making sure the media were taken care of, fixing problems as they arose and delivering media materials to the media center in a timely manner. It seems like an easy task, but we had some problems and no one wants an angry press box, as the coverage of the event could easily change to the awful hospitality of the track. So even though the Wi-Fi wasn’t working, lunch was delivered an hour late and non-media personnel tried to crash the party, Kelly informed me that the media were pleased with my professionalism and had only good things to say.
Now although there were some great perks to the weekend – watching the races, meeting the drivers and enjoying the delicious free food – the best part for me was introducing myself to the influential pr people in the industry. I had some great conversations with them, handed out my cards and collected theirs as well, so hopefully down the road, they can help me break into the industry!
So even though I put in over 36 hours of work in three days, this was the experience of a lifetime and I’m so thankful to have been offered it!