Team competes in NASCAR program
Casey Kenny | Thursday, October 8, 2009
New to Notre Dame this year is the “NASCAR Kinetics: Marketing in Motion” case-study program which offers students the chance to tackle the challenges faced by NASCAR’s sponsors and marketing professionals.
Ricky Gonzalez, a junior marketing major and captain of the new team, is excited by the hands-on learning experience.
“We are one of six universities competing in this program and it is a great experience,” he said. “We are given case studies by NASCAR to work on throughout the semester, culminating in a large case study and presentation at the end of October.”
The four-member Notre Dame team hopes to be among the top three teams chosen to receive an all expense paid trip to Florida in November to present their final case study to a panel of NASCAR judges.
“We are very excited about our team’s performance. We work with all aspects of marketing, communications and advertising and hope to make it to that stage where we can make our presentation face-to-face with NASCAR representatives in Florida,” Gonzalez said.
In its second year, NASCAR Kinetics attracts students from a variety of majors.
“I got involved in the program because I am really interested in both sports and marketing, so a sports marketing competition was the perfect outlet for me,” said Kate Hefele, a sophomore majoring in marketing and journalism.
Team member, Nathan Durkes, a senior business and theology double major at Holy Cross College, was drawn to the overall objective of the program.
“I have always been interested in the automotive business world and, by extension, the world of motorsports. When I heard about the NASCAR Kinetics program, I knew that it would be a fantastic opportunity to apply the skills that I have gained over the last four years and to collaborate with other top students.”
Others welcome the opportunity to work as a team on the case studies, which focus on real challenges faced by NASCAR’s marketing employees and sponsors every day.
John Crowder, a senior economics and computer applications major, said, “I got involved with the program through GoIrish, and applied because I felt that Notre Dame students could provide a competitive spirit in marketing that NASCAR is looking for. They stress a lot of the same qualities ND fans do, such as fan commitment – once a fan always a fan. It’s a great exercise in teamwork, and I am loving it so far.”
Throughout the semester, the team has been working on case studies and presenting them via phone conferences to NASCAR representatives.
“It’s exciting to receive our case projects from NASCAR and know that when we send them our ideas, they are really reviewing and listening to them, so our hard work actually makes a difference versus just being a grade in a classroom,” Hefele said.
On Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. in the Eck Center Auditorium, NASCAR executives and the Notre Dame NASCAR Kinetics team will present a panel discussion about the program.
“This is an ideal way for students to learn about careers and opportunities within the sports industries, and the everyday racing fan will also appreciate getting a rare look at the inner workings of NASCAR,” Durkes said.