For years NASCAR has been searching for ways to attract newer, younger fans to the sport to create longtime fans. The answer may have been found: Take the sport to them.
NASCAR announced on Monday it has established the "NASCAR U Crew," which will provide the sport an on-campus presence at 12 colleges and universities in the 10 Chase markets. Each school will have two brand ambassadors who will integrate NASCAR into campus events and trips to the local track.
"NASCAR, and the social component of watching and attending races, lends itself very nicely to the college lifestyle," NASCAR chief marketing officer Steve Phelps said. "NASCAR U Crew will allow us to interact with college students across the country in a fun and relevant way, giving our current fans the avenue to express their passion and our future fans the vehicle to experience the sport."
The 12 schools participating in the program are: University of Illinois; New Hampshire; Delaware; Kansas; UNC Chapel Hill; UNC Charlotte; Auburn University; Virginia Tech; North Texas; Arizona State; Florida International and Miami.
Each school representative will be responsible for creating 10 events throughout the year both on campus and at the track, work with their local track to establish ticket packages and tailgate areas for students and promote the sport through various forms of media.
UNC Chapel Hill's U Crew ambassador Madison Phillips said the program will be a success because the college demographic "has huge potential to become big fans of the sport."
"NASCAR is a fast-paced, high intensity, adrenalin rush, and that is exactly why it is already so popular with 18-34 year olds," she said. "It's a sport for the young and adventurous, and we just have to open more college students' eyes to it."