The Need for Speed

By Frank Radosevich II
September 19, 2012

Eight Bradley students learned firsthand the need for speed last weekend while working at the Geico 400 NASCAR race at the Chicagoland Speedway.

The group—comprised of mostly journalism, sports communication and public relations majors—was tasked with filming and editing two brief documentaries on the trials and tribulations of a NASCAR team as well as the experience of fans in the grandstands.

The students, however, had just one day to interview as many drivers, pit crews, mechanics and spectators as stock cars roared all around them during the qualifying rounds for the event.

“First the pace was a bit frantic; we were interviewing everyone we saw,” said Matt Moran, a junior studying sport communication. “Once we had enough material and saw that we could produce the documentary, we relaxed.”

Moran, from Decatur, Ill., said after the race the teams spent Monday selecting their main interviews to feature and adding voice-over narration to the footage. Tuesday was spent picking the extra footage used to enrich the story and adding subtitles during scenes where the noise from speeding cars drowned out an interview.

He said editing the entire video recording down was difficult given the wealth of information the documentary teams gathered.

“The answers we recorded are great so it’s tough to select just the right quote,” he said.

Aside from the memorable trip to the raceway, the students also walked away with the hands-on experience of working in film and on a tight deadline.

“It’s really a good challenge for them because a lot of public relations or marketing jobs require you to do many different tasks,” said Dr. Angela Pratt, assistant professor in sports communication. “It helps build their confidence.”

Dr. Pratt said the students also had a chance to network and have something to talk about in future job interviews.

The internship came from North Carolina’s Max Q Motorsports and the two documentaries are due to appear on the company’s website once they are finished.

Sophomore Kelsey Kozlowski said her internship experience helped her decide to change her major to the field of communications. Growing up in a family of racing fans—her father was a crew chief and her grandfather owned racing cars—Kozlowski said she felt at home interviewing people around the Chicago Speedway. She is continuing her internship experience by helping Max Q Motorsports improve its Facebook page during race days.

"I just jumped right into it," Kozlowski said. "Shooting the documentary made me realize this is what I want to do."

This is the second consecutive year students assisted at the NASCAR race. Last year Bradley students handled promotions and public relations for the #37 Bradley University Sprint Cup Ford Fusion car.

Bradley was represented again this year on the racetrack. A race car, driven by J.J. Yeley included images of the University wordmark and the new athletic logo.