At first race, student from Dominican Republic soaks it all in Students are encouraged to work as active media members at the race track and ultimately tell the story of their unique experience at a NASCAR event. Following each immersion, one student will have the chance to see their work published on NASCAR .com. Last month, Nerys Medina, a student from the Dominican Republic, attended Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway and filed this story. This journey started by chance. Thanks to the Student Media Immersion program that provided my friend Marjorie and I the chance to witness the last race of 2014 of what I now know as the NASCAR Camping Truck World Series. It was a wonderful experience. I am Nerys Medina, an advertisement student from the Dominican Republic. Until recently, the only thing I knew about NASCAR was its name and that it was something related to cars. Now I know better. We arrived at Homestead-Miami Speedway where we were dropped off at Gate 1. After taking photos and being amazed at finally arriving there, we approached the track staff to ask about credentials and the Media Center … that was the start of what we fondly call the “Epic Quest.” After confusion over the credential location, we finally arrived at the credential office where we were spotted by Edward Williams, a really friendly and kind member of the NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications staff who was assigned to provide us with credentials needed to start our adventure. We arrived at the Media Center where we met Laura, John and Yvette who helped Edward during our stay. We were guided around the Media Center and stopped in the cafeteria for a snack. After eating, Laura informed us that we’d get the opportunity to interview a very important character, Alba Colon. Alba is the lead engineer of Chevrolet Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. She informed us about the manufacturers participating in the races: Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota and talked to us about many things, including Chevrolet’s friendly rivalry with Ford. Talking with Alba was an incredible experience; she explained many things and gave us good tips for the future. The place we talked to Alba was in the driver press conference room where Edward told us later all the drivers and sponsors would be for the driver/crew chief meeting. Meanwhile, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series trophy was already on stage so we were allowed to take a few pictures with it. After the inspiring talk with Alba, Edward proposed a tour of the garages and explained the gist of the different inspections that the cars have to pass in order to be able to compete. We also saw Victory Lane where Edward told us that the race winner goes with the winning car (in our case truck) and celebrates with the crew members and fans. We walked around the track for a long time taking pictures of different cars and listening to all of the details provided. Laura later found us and invited us to see a live interview with Austin Dillon . We saw that he was given a special headset in order to listen and answer the questions asked by the reporter. It was really interesting and I was astonished that he could hear and answer calmly without being bothered by cars running in the background. I wonder if the saying ‘practice makes perfect’ could be used in that situation. A few minutes before the start of the race, we were provided with earplugs and a device called ‘FanVision,’ which contained the drivers’ stats and showed the race live. Earplugs ready, excitement and giddiness present, we watched the race and pit stops from behind pit road. With trucks in their positions and everyone holding their breath, in the blink of an eye the race started. When the trucks were racing, I couldn’t believe how fast they could go. I was able to admire a couple of pit stops. Seeing the speed and precision to change old tires, adding or removing changes to the truck and even giving it a push when needed was awe-inspiring. It was an incredible experience watching everything live and it makes you really appreciate all of the dedication and effort everyone pours in their work. In all, it was a wonderful day and also an eye-opening experience that got me really interested in NASCAR . Before, I thought a race was only cars going in circles and nothing else, but after seeing everything, I’m aware now of all the hard work needed to keep such an incredible event in top-notch condition. The knowledge gained from this trip is something that will stay with me for a long time.
Gaffney: 'The NASCAR sponsorship has been a valuable investment for us'
Johnson, Byrnes: Sport evolves with new format to grow fan base RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated Jimmie Johnson stood outside his motorcoach two days prior to the 2014 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway , expounding on an answer about the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format and its impact on the sport. "Times have changed, the world has changed, there isn't an easy answer for it," Johnson said. "What I'm trying to do is look at the statistics. Is viewership up? Is attendance up? I don't know the viewership answer, I've heard mixed reviews." Johnson was informed that ratings were up the previous two weeks at Texas and Phoenix. "That's a good sign. I know attendance, it looks like, has been up at a lot of tracks in the Chase. Phoenix was sold out, Chicago was really full, that's what I'm really looking at," he said. "Especially when I'm getting older in my career, I want the sport to be around, I want it to be around for generations to come. The world has changed, and we need to change with it." The revolution will, of course, continue to be televised (and tweeted, and instagrammed, etc.). Viewership was up for the 36th and final race at Homestead, which produced a sellout crowd, while the rating remained level with last year. Steve Byrnes, who has been a stalwart presence in NASCAR television for three decades, assessed the state of the sport prior to Homestead. "I still think that we are a work in progress, meaning we had this amazing growth and popularity, and everybody was kind of puffing their chest out," Byrnes said. "Then when the economy staggered, we staggered with it. I think we're still trying to catch up and find out what the fans really want. They’re trying everything they can." Those efforts produced a strong finish to the 2014 season and valuable momentum for NASCAR heading into the New Year. SUBSCRIBE NOW!
NCWTS crew member Marshal Faust suspended indefinitely DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Marshal Faust, a crew member in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body’s Substance Abuse Policy. On Dec. 12, 2014, Faust was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (violation of the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy) of the 2014 NASCAR Rule Book. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Check out this promo from FOX Sports previewing the 2015 NASCAR season. The show will air on Sunday, December 21st. Check your local listings for air times.
Nationwide Series champion, team to spend Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Chase Elliott and members of the No. 9 JR Motorsports team will be on the road Tuesday as they travel to Columbus, Ohio, home of the series sponsor, to be honored for their 2014 efforts. The day -long schedule will include a visit to the Nationwide Children's Hospital, a Marketing University panel discussion, autograph session, broom ball at Nationwide Arena, team dinner and taking in the Columbus Blue Jackets-Philadelphia Flyers NHL contest. Elliott, who turned 19 on Nov. 28, became the youngest driver to win the series title this season. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year winner, Elliott scored his first series win at Texas Motor Speedway , and came back a week later to win his second race, at Darlington Raceway . He added a third victory later in the season at Chicagoland Speedway . With crew chief Greg Ives leading the team, Elliott ended the year with 16 top-five and 26 top-10 finishes. He and teammate Regan Smith placed 1-2 in the series’ points standings. JRM, which fields three teams in the series, is co-owned by Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr ., sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller and Sprint Cup team owner Rick Hendrick. Elliott wrapped up the title with one race remaining, thanks to a fifth-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway . "It's just been a very, very fun road," Elliott said. "I feel very fortunate to have not just this year with Greg and with Dale and Kelley and Mr. Hendrick, and just honestly, the best group of people that you could possibly have surrounding you in racing in the past five years that I've been short track racing and whatnot. "I feel like I've had the absolute best possible people there, too, and I feel like all these people along the way have made me look a heck of a lot better than I really am. It's been an honor to work with these guys, and not just this year, but all along the way." Nationwide Insurance, which has served as series sponsor since 2008, will be replaced by XFINITY beginning in 2015. However, the company will remain involved in the sport through team sponsorship with Earnhardt Jr. as well as sponsor of the series’ race at Mid-Ohio. "What they've done with this series … (it’s) in a whole lot better place than it was when they started," Earnhardt Jr. said of Nationwide’' involvement. "They've done a wonderful job being a part of our sport and representing our sport. They really love this series, and this series fit them very well." Ives, who will move over to become crew chief for Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 Sprint Cup team, and Earnhardt Jr. will be unable to join the team on the trip to Columbus due to their participation in a Goodyear tire test at Charlotte Motor Speedway scheduled for the same day . MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Find the latest news & media covering the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series only on the official site of NASCAR .
Find the latest news & media covering the NASCAR Nationwide Series only on the official site of NASCAR .