JWU News

Teaching Life Skills to NASCAR’s Next Generation

Associate Professor Jeff Longo talks life skills with 9 up-and-coming NASCAR drivers

8/31/18 | For the 2nd year in a row, JWU Charlotte faculty stepped out of the classroom and into the world of NASCAR as part of a partnership with NASCAR Next.

The 2018 NASCAR Next program consists of 9 up-and-coming drivers from across the United States looking to ascend to NASCAR’s highest level.

In August, Jeff Longo, associate professor, and Pat Stack, assistant professor — both from the College of Hospitality Management — offered the drivers helpful hints on how to be successful off the track, which included insights about forming relationships with sponsors and developing their personal brands.

“For these students, it’s an extension of what we do in the classroom all the time, which is get our students ready for life after college,” says Stack. “Whether it’s a college setting or a race car driver, the fundamentals are the same. It’s all about professional preparation and helping them excel in whatever their professional pursuits are.”

Whether it’s college or the race track, the fundamentals are the same. It’s about professional preparation + helping them excel.”

18-year-old Chase Purdy of Mississippi says that as a race car driver, it’s difficult to attend traditional school. “I learned how to approach sponsors and have a conversation with CEOs. Today’s world is part racing, social media, and how to get people on your side, hearing your ideas.”

According to Longo, “They spend so much of their time thinking about what goes on on the track, that they’re not often pulling back and contemplating the things that are going to help them out, whether it’s two years from now, 5 years from now, or later in their career.”

This partnership is a result of JWU’s Sports, Entertainment, Event — Management (SEEM) program’s continued commitment to integrating with notable professional organizations.

According to Patrick Rogers, managing director, driver & team marketing, whose department oversees NASCAR Next, “Strong partnerships lead to success for NASCAR drivers both on and off of the track. Providing our NASCAR Next drivers with the proper tools to build those partnerships will only make our sport stronger and pay dividends for our future stars.”

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Some of NASCAR’s next generation.

Pat Stack (left) and Jeff Longo (right) of JWU Charlotte’s College of Hospitality Management

Topics: Hospitality Charlotte