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TMS Hooking Up With Academia

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, November 3 2017

Cup driver Austin Dillon will be driving a car in Olympic livery this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

FORT WORTH, Texas – Texas Motor Speedway and the University of North Texas are partnering in a “Science of Speed” initiative designed to tap into a young and inquisitive fan base that might prompt TMS President/promoter extraordinaire Eddie Gossage to update his resume.

Accompanied by NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series driver Austin Dillon, Gossage joined UNT President Neal Smatresk in announcing the initiative on the campus of the “Mean Green” in Denton. Gossage and Smatresk joined Dillon, luge legend and Director of Marketing & Sponsorship for USA Luge Gordy Sheer and Sam Crabtree, Dow Chemical Company Lead R&D Manager, in the “Speed of Science” panel discussion on Wednesday.

Sitting outside in the Library Mall with the Hurley Administration Building serving as backdrop, the trio discussed how engineering and science plays a critical role in sports ranging from NASCAR to the Olympic Games. The audience of more than 75 students ranged from the SAE University of North Texas Racing Team to those majoring in engineering, sports marketing and related fields.

Prior to the panel discussion, Smatresk announced a partnership between the university and TMS highlighted by college students having the opportunity for internships at the  motorsports facility. The event culminated with the unveiling of Dillon’s Winter Olympics paint scheme on his No. 3 Chevrolet SS.

 “It’s exciting to have the University of North Texas, obviously a leader in education and getting young men and women ready for the workforce, involved with Texas Motor Speedway,” Gossage said. “This partnership is mutually beneficial and one that we believe has the ability to drive value from a lot of different perspectives. UNT has the opportunity to leverage signage and their preferred status with an extremely loyal motorsports fan base.

“For us, it’s all about tapping into a younger generation of fans as well as possible future employees. We have a large number of full and part-time staff members that went here so we obviously believe in the university. We’re very proud to be aligned with a university that shares the same mission and values as we do, and we can’t wait to get this partnership off the ground starting at the AAA Texas 500.”

Sunday’s Cup race will cap three days of NASCAR Playoff competition that includes the Camping World Truck and Xfinity series on the 1.5-mile oval. Smatresk hopes TMS _ located 17 miles south of Denton on Interstate 35 _ will become a magnet for UNT’s inquiring minds.

“Through our partnership with Texas Motor Speedway, we’ll be able to offer our students educational opportunities such as internships, class projects and in-class lectures from the experienced Texas Motor Speedway staff,” Smatresk said. “The partnership will directly benefit our students, specifically those studying sports management and marketing, hospitality and event management and business.”

Dillon used the occasion as an example of that staple of NASCAR Marketing 101, “The Paint Scheme Unveiling.” With the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, scheduled to begin exactly 100 days from Wednesday, Dillon, Sheer, Crabtree and Smatresk unveiled the Olympics paint scheme Dillon will run in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500. Dow is collaborating with NASCAR’s Richard Childress Racing for research and development of U.S. teams headed for the Winter Games. Childress, a former Cup driver, is Dillon’s grandfather.

Dillon noted the nation’s college campuses ideally are educating the next wave of NASCAR engineers. “For me to want to go faster in racing, it’s going to take engineers that love race cars and racing and that want to take our sport to the next level,” Dillon said. “It’s awesome _ it’s almost like a recruiting trip when you come out here. You might see your next guys; you might see your next crew chief or engineers that will be working for you one day.”

Smatresk said that as in any profession, a diversity of team talent can be a game-changer in NASCAR. “The inventions of tomorrow are not simple,” Smatresk said. “They’re going to require people from many different disciplines. What they (students) saw today was a material lesson in how the jocks, nerds, geeks, computer scientists, mathematician, race car driver and entertainer can all work together.”

Dillon’s Winter Olympics No. 3 Dow Chevy SS is red, white and blue and features the American flag and Olympic rings on the hood and rear deck lid, and snowflakes on each side. Stationed next to the car was a giant red, white and blue balloon display of “100” to signify 100 days out from the start of the Games.

“For me, it’s an awesome partnership we have with Dow and Dow’s partnership with the Winter Olympics, and then the luge team being here at the University of North Texas,” Dillon said. “It’s cool how we brought this partnership together.

“We’re always looking for those young fans out here wanting to learn about our sport. To come to a campus like the University of North Texas and speak to them _ let them see the race car and see what our sport is all about _ and having fun…you can do that this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.”

To mark the new partnership between TMS and UNT, Dillon surprised the students who took part in the panel discussion by letting them know that two AAA Texas 500 tickets were taped beneath each of their chairs. Dillon also presented Smatresk with a Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Dow racing team crew shirt.

Dillon is the defending AAA Texas 500 pole-sitter, having earned P1 with a speed of 192.301 mph last November. It was his third career Cup Series pole and remains his most recent.

Dillon will be performing double duty for RCR this weekend with a start in the Xfinity Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 in addition to Cup’s AAA Texas 500. He will be driving the No. 2 Rheem/WATTS Chevrolet Camaro in Saturday night’s Xfinity event and the No. 3 Winter in PyeongChang Chevy SS in Sunday afternoon’s headliner. Dillon has made 10 career Xfinity starts at TMS and has not finished worse than eighth, including a best of third twice. He has made nine Cup Series starts in Fort Worth with a top finish of 11th in the 2015 AAA Texas 500.

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TMS’ start-up Business Acceleration Club has sold-out its “soft launch” for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race.

The Business Acceleration Club _a new program focusing on local businesses as well as Texas-based and national companies seeking entry-level sponsorship opportunities _is scheduled for a full launch during the 2018 racing season. However, the Speedway’s sales team had a goal of securing a total of eight companies in this initial offering after the program officially was announced Sept. 18. The Speedway’s sales department exceeded that goal with 10 on-board for Sunday’s marquee NASCAR event.

The companies that will participate Sunday as well as for 2018 are Premier Truck Group (Dallas), Emergency Ice (Dallas), Liberty National Life Insurance (McKinney), TX Chili (Fort Worth), JAG Metals (Weatherford), Grande Communications (San Marcos), ITW (Houston), Primesport (Atlanta), Fuzzy’s Vodka (Indianapolis) and Omnisource (Amarillo).

For any size business, the BAC offers affordability to entertain clients, prospects and employees at a major sporting event and the opportunity to expand their business contacts.

With an entry point of $28,500 annually, the Speedway has developed a turn-key program that encompasses all three of Texas Motor Speedway’s major races _ the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 in April, the Verizon IndyCar Series Texas Indy 600 in June and the MENCS AAA Texas 500 Playoff race in November. The program features business-to-business opportunities, on-site marketing at the state’s largest sports venue and VIP hospitality at each of those races.

TMS will expand the number of companies in the Business Acceleration Club to a maximum of 25 for the 2018 racing season.

The 1.5-mile facility plays host to two races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series as well as one in the Verizon IndyCar Series and SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks. Texas Motor Speedway is owned and operated by O. Bruton Smith’s Speedway Motorsports, Inc., a publicly traded company that is a leading marketer and promoter of motorsports entertainment in the United States. 

For more information on the DFW Business Acceleration Club, contact the Texas Motor Speedway Sales Department at (817) 215-8518 or email corpsales@texasmotorspeedway.com

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, November 3 2017
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