Sparta student selected as part of NASCAR marketing team

NASCAR TEAM—Austin Suttner, back center, is one member of the Central Michigan University team marketing younger fans.

NASCAR TEAM—Austin Suttner, back center, is one member of the Central Michigan University team marketing younger fans.

by ANA OLVERA

 The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing Inc. (NASCAR) is pleased to announce that one of five Central Michigan University (CMU) students selected to participate in NASCAR Kinetics: Marketing in Motion is Austin J. Suttner from Sparta. NASCAR Kinetics, launched January 2009, provides hands-on learning experience and allows these students to gain real world marketing experience while being immersed in the sport of NASCAR. The participating schools were selected on their marketing programs and students’ eagerness to gain real world practice and knowledge.

Each week the CMU team will respond to a case study provided to them by NASCAR, allowing students to use techniques and lessons taught to them in the classroom. Placing students in the shoes of professional marketers, public relations practitioners and business professionals, NASCAR Kinetics assignments are based upon everyday challenges facing NASCAR and its sponsors.

“These case studies will challenge us to come up with ways to attract new fans to NASCAR, usually the younger fan, 8 to 24 years old,” Suttner said, “It’s a good experience for problem-solving in a real world job setting. We are forced to think outside of the box and come up with answers on our time and quickly.”

The team will also plan and execute a NASCAR Day panel discussion. Among the panel participants will be NASCAR professionals in marketing, human resources, diversity and series operations. CMU students, faculty and employees are encouraged to support their team by attending the panel discussion, which, along with case study performance, will determine the winning NASCAR Kinetics school. The winning school will receive the grand prize, an all-expense-paid trip to South Beach, Miami, during Ford Championship Weekend. Suttner hopes to “meet some drivers” if their team wins. “My favorite all-time driver was Ricky Rudd, but… now I would have to say Carl Edwards,” said Suttner.

In order to participate, students had to fill out a program application and were interviewed via phone. They were selected based on their application and interview performance, as well as their on-campus involvement, cumulative grade-point average and desire to join the NASCAR Kinetics team.

Suttner heard about the program in a presentation in one of his classes. “I have been a NASCAR fan ever since I was a little kid. My dad used to race in the Sports Car Club of America, so I grew up around racing,” said Suttner as to why he was inclined to apply for the program.

Suttner is a senior who is majoring in sports studies with a minor in journalism. He hopes to become a sports reporter after graduating.

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