While most young drivers already have a talent for getting behind the wheel and doing what it takes to grab the checkered flag, it takes learning even more than talent to succeed in the business of motorsports. With a mission to make dreams a reality through motorsports, non-profit organization MDR Motorsports is doing their part to assist this sport’s newest stars in learning how to become a marketable resource.
As the racing season began last weekend, this organization decided to celebrate by giving several young drivers the unique opportunity to meet with those who have seen or are seeing success at some of the top levels of this sport during their mentoring event. Held at the brand new gallery of NASCAR’s 1st Officially Licensed Artist Sam Bass, the MDR Motorsports mentor event featured well-known NASCAR stars like Sam Bass, Jerry Nadeau, Joey Gase and Garrett Smithley, who spent time sharing their knowledge of how they were able to make their dreams come true.
Along with learning how to successfully market their driving abilities, those who took the time to meet with these motorsports stars also had the opportunity to learn how to successfully pitch marketing partners, build their business profile and become a well-known name within the sport.
Former kart driver Joshua Aultice said that this is exactly why he wanted to attend this event. “My dad was a former kart racer, who also worked with several NASCAR drivers like Bobby Moon as well as Jeff and Ward Burton, and he got me racing at the age of 6 years old,” said Aultice. “After that the bug just bit me and I knew that I wanted to compete. Unfortunately, the funds haven’t been there in several years, but I have never given up on this dream, which is why I decided to get my degree in marketing and network at events like this so that I could pursue a job with either a professional team or a sponsor.”
The future is already looking bright for this Liberty University senior as he is being taken as an intern for the newest Jr. Motorsports driver, William Byron.
“Since Liberty University is a sponsor of Byron, I approached the marketing department at my school to discuss developing a promotional strategy to assure a return on their investment,” said Aultice. “This led to an internship with this driver as well as Jr. Motorsports this season and I am hoping that I can learn a lot from both Byron and this team.”
While Aultice will be thrilled if he either works with drivers or, one day, becomes a driver himself again, dirt driver Tyler Frankenberry decided to attend last weekend’s MDR Motorsports networking event to find out how he can move to the next level of racing.
“This event has given me an even deeper perspective on racing,” said Frankenberry. “A lot of up-and-coming drivers, like myself, are or were under the impression that we can just jump in a car and go racing. After talking with some of these mentors I am learning that I have to absorb more on how I can market myself as a driver as well as a brand advocate.”
Although she doesn’t plan to pursue driving as a professional career, Ashley Pantoulas said that she fell in love with racing as a young kid.
“My dad has worked around the automotive industry since before I was born and his passion inspired me to go racing,” said Pantoulas. “Although I am planning to compete in the Allison Legacy Series this season, I am hoping that both my racing talent and the skills that I am learning through events like this will push me into a modified ride.”
Along with the future stars of the sport, the shining star mentors also said that they enjoyed giving back. “Each driver has a different route that they have to take to make it to the big leagues, and I am just excited to have the opportunity to do my part to help guide them down their own path to success,” said BK Racing driver Joey Gase. “We need to keep the youth involved in racing or we will see the end to this popular sport, and that is why events like this one are so important.”
“These kids are the future of NASCAR,” said former NASCAR Cup Series driver Jerry Nadeau. “As a former Cup Series driver myself, I like to do my part to provide feedback on how I got to the top, which is primarily about having the heart to chase their dreams.”
“As an organization with a passion for helping those who have a vested interest in this sport achieve their dreams, we are grateful for events like this one,” said MDR Motorsports representative Mary Dixon. “We believe that knowledge is key for many of those who are just getting started in the sport, and I am glad that we can find drivers who are willing to provide the insights and become coaches to these aspiring stars.”
For more information about this and other opportunities available through MDR Motorsports visit MDRMotorsports.org.