Students get offers of jobs, internships at racing industry event

December 17 2007

Several students in Indiana State University’s motorsports program returned from a recent trip to Florida with more than memories.

During the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show in Orlando Dec. 6-8, senior Neysa Peters of Rockville was offered a job in the motorsports industry while seniors Kael Fritz of St. Henry and Brad Ada of Michigan City along with junior Kyle Niesen of Evansville each received leads on internships with racing businesses.

Those personal success stories are further evidence Indiana State is able to produce the kinds of workers the motorsports industry needs, said Randy Peters, professor and coordinator of the automotive technology management program.

“We take students to PRI and allow them to experience the marketing, advertising and networking that is vital to motorsports. Students experience many other aspects of the business of motorsports as well and improve their skill in talking professionally to all parts of the motorsports industry from an informed position. That’s the experiential side of what we’re doing and that’s what is unique about Indiana State’s motorsports initiative,” Peters said of the university’s multi-disciplinary program.

Indiana State launched the program in the fall of 2006 and this year marked the university’s second year of participation in PRI. A larger booth and the presence of Team Sycamore Racing’s NHRA dragster sparked greater interest in ISU’s exhibit, said junior Kyle Niesen who, like Peters, Fritz and Ada, is a member of the student racing team.

“Everyone wanted to come up and play with the dragstrip Christmas tree (the red, yellow and green lights used to start drag races) or talk about the car, or both,” said Niesen, an automotive technology management and marketing major, who is pursuing a minor in motorsports management.

The Team Sycamore Racing car is unique because it is powered by a late-model General Motors LS7 engine. Used in the Chevrolet Corvette, the seven-liter, fuel-injected power plant donated to the university by GM is unusual for a dragster, which might otherwise use a “home built” engine, Niesen said. The LS-7 engine is mated to a two-speed GM Powerglide transmission.

“At PRI this year there were more than 1,400 exhibitors and 45,000 attendees from 45 countries spread out over one million square feet of floor space. PRI is the perfect venue to showcase what we have and how we’re approaching technology. We’re incorporating the latest technologies found on today’s cars, such as fuel injection, and that’s not currently being done in NHRA drag racing,” said Peters.

“It was a great experience and a great opportunity to represent the university and develop future contacts,” said Fritz, a December graduate of ISU with a bachelor’s degree in automotive technology management who has accepted a position with Jasper Engines and Transmissions.

“I talked to a lot of people in the different sanctioning bodies about possible internships that I never would have been able to find had I not gone to PRI,” said Ada, a communication major who was struck by the diversity of businesses represented.

Neysa Peters, a December graduate with a degree in family and consumer sciences, returned from the racing industry trade show with one job offer and hopes for others. She represented both ISU and the Indiana Motorsports Association (IMA). An intern with that industry group since October, she helped with a reception for more than 200 Indiana delegates to the trade show.

“I want to work within motorsports within client services, hospitality and event planning, working specifically with clients,” she said. “There’s so much that goes into motorsports that you don’t necessarily think about that which is not directly related to the cars.”

For his part, Professor Peters returned to Terre Haute with “handshake” agreements involving sponsorships, products, services and racing-related research for the university that he hopes to be able to formalize in the coming weeks.

Contact: Randy Peters, assistant professor and coordinator, automotive technology management program, Indiana State University, (812) 237-4962 or rpeters@indstate.edu

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

Several students in Indiana State University's motorsports program returned from a recent trip to Florida with more than memories. During a racing industry trade show, they received leads on internships and jobs within the industry.

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