ALLIANCE: Los Angeles’ Student Empowerment Program Visits NASCAR and FOX Sports to Learn About Future Careers
High school students from the ALLIANCE: Los Angeles’ Student Empowerment Program visited the Coliseum ahead of NASCAR’s first Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum. The students toured the racetrack, visited the FOX Sports broadcast compound, and participated in a NASCAR sports career panel. The 27 students and seven chaperones were from Boss Program, ICEF View Park Preparatory Charter High School, and Project Blue.
The afternoon started with a tour of the Fox Sports NASCAR broadcast and media compound outside of the Coliseum. Students meandered past media tents in the Coliseum’s side lot and watched a video reel explaining NASCAR’s upcoming season. In the media tent, NASCAR Pit Reporter & ARCA Menards Series play-by-play announcer Jamie Little spoke to the students about her career in broadcasting. She encouraged students interested in sports broadcasting to practice announcing play-by-play action while they watch televised sports at home. She discussed how she worked to earn promotions and to advance her career. Her coworkers answered questions from students about their career paths in NASCAR and broadcasting. They reminded students to persevere, make career connections, and work toward their goals regardless of obstacles.
Once Inside the stadium, students watched a live pre-event interview with Bubba Wallace and other NASCAR drivers above the racetrack. At the NASCAR Race Hub, drivers discussed their excitement for the event which marked the first time the preseason Clash was held outside of Daytona International Speedway since its inception in 1979. The drivers explained how this event was unique since the smaller track was constructed solely for the event. The drivers departed to prepare for a practice round on the track.
While walking the track, Jusan Hamilton, NASCAR Director of Race Operations & Event Management, explained how the temporary track was constructed for the event. The tour included a walk around the track and a view of the garage as final event preparations were made.
The day concluded with a NASCAR career panel at the top level of the Coliseum overlooking the sunset and the skyline of Los Angeles. The students listened to panelists discuss their careers in racing and in the front office. Panelists included Dylan “Mamba” Smith (former NASCAR driver), Erica Wilkerson (NASCAR Senior Manager, Multicultural and Youth Communications), Marielkis Salazar (Manager, NASCAR Community), and Jen Fisher (NASCAR Senior Coordinator Social Media and Strategy).
The panelists explained how professional skills are transferable to a multitude of career pathways in sports as an athlete or as a staff member. Smith shared his experiences as an athlete. Wilkerson and Salazar discussed how they engage youth and the community in NASCAR events. Salazar and Fisher emphasized the importance of storytelling in their marketing-based positions.
After the career panel, students received NASCAR hats and took a group photo. The speakers sparked interest in possible career options for the students to consider as they continue their educations. The students enjoyed watching the media action as the final preparations were made for race day