Action Track sponsorship means opportunities for motorsports students

April 9 2008

When the 2008 racing season starts May 2 at the Terre Haute Action Track, it will mark more than renewed interest in the legendary half-mile race course where such drivers as Parnelli Jones, A.J. Foyt, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart once kicked up some dirt. It will mean new opportunities for students in Indiana State University’s motorsports program.

The university will sponsor the first race of the season at the clay oval, The Clabber Girl Don Smith Classic Presented by Indiana State University. An agreement with DHK Promotions LLC, which signed a three-year deal with the Vigo County Fair Board in February to operate the track, also calls for students to be heavily involved in the facility’s operations.

The partnership will allow Indiana State students to experience the business of motorsports first hand through interactive participation in the planning and execution of events. This "laboratory" environment will give students the opportunity to gain valuable real life knowledge for the future as they seek employment in a chosen motorsports-related field.

“We want to provide a real-world portal to future careers in motorsports,” Guy Faulkner, director of Indiana State’s motorsports initiative, said. “This is a historic partnership.”

The university’s agreement with DHK Promotions will supplement what students learn in the classroom via internships; student mentoring and project research, Faulkner said. The university also will work with DHK to secure industry speakers and classroom guests.

The Action Track hopes to play a key role in helping Indiana State develop a program intended to serve the needs of an industry the Indiana Economic Development Corp. has targeted for growth, Mike King of DHK Promotions said.

“Hopefully, what is now a motorsports minor will soon become a major. Students would then be able to come to Indiana State and, upon graduation, go out into the business world knowing every facet of motorsports management from the ground up”, King said.

In addition to King, the radio voice of the Indianapolis 500, DHK principals include former major league baseball player and Indiana State alumnus Brian Dorsett and open-wheel racer Davey Hamilton.

Already, some students are gaining experience in a variety of areas thanks to Indiana State’s partnership with DHK, Faulkner said.

“Management information systems students are working on new ticketing systems,” he said. “In addition, marketing students will conduct market research on fans’ likes and dislikes and report their findings to the track’s management.”

Indiana State will also use events at the Action Track to inform future students of the opportunities for study in the motorsports field.

Launched in 2006, the motorsports program at ISU is multi-disciplinary, including students and faculty from the College of Business; College of Technology; and College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services, and shortly the College of Education. It has been designated a “Program of Promise” under a program funded in part by a gift from the Lilly Endowment intended to highlight the university’s most distinctive programs.

Photo: Racing partnership Guy Faulkner, director of motorsports initiatives, discusses the university's partnership with DHK Promotions, new operators of the Terre Haute Action Track, during a Feb. 29 news conference at Clabber Girl in Terre Haute. Seated behind Faulkner are DHK partners Brian Dorsett (left), Davey Hamilton and Mike King.

Photo gallery Additional photos from the news conference announcing the 2008 season at the Terre Haute Action Track

Contact: Guy Faulkner, director of motorsports initiatives, Indiana State University, 812-237-2000 or motorsports@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

A unique affiliation with the new promoters of the Terre Haute Action Track will provide motorsports studies students at Indiana State with valuable experience in a racing venue.

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