Setting the pace

No. 37 Bradley University Ford Fusion makes a stop on the Hilltop before heading to Chicagoland Speedway.

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By Abby Rhodes
September 15, 2011

On the Hilltop, the name Alan Fuehring is commonly followed by, “the kid who loves NASCAR.”

“Since I’ve been at Bradley, everyone I meet learns that I’m a huge fan and have been my whole life,” said Fuehring. “For me, the sport fulfills every sense – the smell of tire rubber, the sounds of passionate fans, and there’s no greater feeling than when your driver performs well.”

So when Fuehring ’12 and his fellow sports communication majors were invited to assist a NASCAR team during this weekend’s Sprint Cup event at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, everyone who knows Alan knew he’d be first in line. A diehard Jeff Gordon fan, Fuehring will relax his allegiance this weekend to support No. 37 Bradley University Ford Fusion driver Josh Wise in the GEICO 400  – it’s a concession Fuehring’s happy to make for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Fuehring, along with Brent Drevalas ’15, Katherine Casey ’13, James DeSilva ’15, Hollie Huntley ’14, Zach Keesee ’12, Zachary Larson ’14 and Julie Piatek ’13 will bring to the North Carolina-based Max Q Motorsports team skills developed in Bradley’s nationally recognized sports communication program. In turn, the students will have an exclusive opportunity to gain footing inside one of America’s most loved sports industries.

“We welcome Bradley University students to Chicagoland to experience first-hand the excitement of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing and to learn more about career opportunities in our sport,” said Larry Gunselman, the team’s owner. Gunselman donated sponsorship rights to Bradley in recognition of the University’s growing sports communication program.

The No. 37 car will be wrapped in the University’s markings and the BU Braves logo during the Sprint Cup event. Ahead of the weekend race, the entire Bradley community had the opportunity to see the No. 37 show car, an authentic race car, on campus. The car was displayed on Olin Quad Thursday with sports communication students on hand to answer questions about NASCAR and upcoming race.

In choosing Bradley students for this unique partnership, Max Q Motorsports considered the global nature of the University’s sports communication program, which includes training in journalism, advertising, promotion and publicity, production and performance, and media relations. The students are already primed to tackle everything from pre-event publicity to public relations and production and Fuehring’s familiarity with the sport has already proven an asset to the team.

“I’m writing biographies of the driver, the owner, the crew chief and some of the mechanics, and I’m looking forward to answering questions about the car on campus,” Fuehring said.

Before heading to the track for the weekend, the students wrote a press release to promote the race and Fuehring’s team biographies were posted on the Max Q Motorsports website. On Saturday, they’ll lead tours of the pit and garage and take photos to post online. On Sunday, race day, the group will watch the GEICO 400 from pit road.

No. 37 will also bear Bradley's name for the Kansas Speedway Hollywood Casino 400 on October 9 and the Talladega Superspeedway Good Sam Club 500 on October 23. Both races will air on ESPN.