Former 'Survivor' Contestant Brandon Hantz Lands Job In NASCAR Industry

The tribe has spoken: Former Survivor: South Pacific contestant Brandon Hantz has joined NASCAR's traveling circus as a sales representative for Racing Electronics.

Hantz, the nephew of notorious Survivor bad boy Russell Hantz, made his own mark on the CBS reality show last fall by becoming one of the most polarizing personalities in recent seasons.

The 20-year-old Texan told SBNation.com he'll be travelling the NASCAR circuit every week, selling and renting the new FanVision devices (which replace the old "FanView" this year) from a yet-to-be-determined kiosk location at the track.

"Racing Electronics is a really, really good company to work for, and it's been really cool to meet so many new people," he said. "A lot of fans have been coming up to my booth and whatnot. It's been interesting so far."

So how did Hantz go from infamous reality show contestant to FanVision salesman?

Since the show ended in December, Hantz has been going through a divorce but wanted to stay near his two children, who live with their mother in North Carolina.

He moved from Texas and took a job as a welder near Charlotte, then started flagging Legends and Bandolero races at Charlotte Motor Speedway in his spare time.

Through a friend, he met someone who worked for Racing Electronics and heard all about NASCAR's life on the road.

"Things got really rough (with the divorce), so I kind of wanted to get my mind off stuff," Hantz said Saturday. "I love traveling. She was just talking about her job, how she could travel with NASCAR. She said she was gone nine months out of the year, constantly on the move in a different state, a different city, and that just seemed really intriguing to me.

"I said, ‘Hey, do you think I could come?' I wasn't really thinking it was going to happen. She said, ‘Yeah, lemme talk to my boss.' And within 24 hours, I was in a van headed to Daytona."

Hantz knew virtually nothing of NASCAR until last week. He previously found the sport to be "kind of boring," but changed his mind after attending his first race – the Budweiser Shootout – last weekend.

"I was just screaming, raising all kinds of hell, son!" he said while sitting in the Racing Electronics trailer sporting a 'Lil Hantz' hat. "I've never seen anything go so fast in my life."

Hantz has already picked Dale Earnhardt Jr. as his favorite driver because of how the popular racer lost his father in a 2001 Daytona 500 crash.

"That's my man, dude," he said. "I have a really strong relationship with my dad, and I can't relate to losing my father like that. Honestly, that made me want to root for him more than anything. I hope he wins the 500 really bad."

Those who watched Survivor may have mixed feelings about Hantz. He entered the season vowing to "restore the Hantz family name" after his uncle dirtied it with underhanded play.

But as the days on the island dragged on, Hantz found himself challenged by the social aspect of the game. He made enemies with his frank comments and rubbed other contestants the wrong way with his paranoia and volatile nature.

Hantz constantly wore his faith on his sleeve and preached integrity, loyalty and honor, but trusted his allies to the point where he eventually got burned. An ill-fated decision to give away his immunity necklace in the semi-final episode resulted in his torch being snuffed in the ensuing tribal council vote, and he lost a shot at $1 million.

At the Survivor cast reunion show, no one from Hantz's immediate family attended – a sign of apparent disapproval over the way he played – and his time on the show is now a "bad memory," he said.

Despite the way he was portrayed, Hantz said everyone who has approached him has been overwhelmingly positive – including the NASCAR fans he's discovering know his name.

One man returned to the FanVision with two bags of fresh citrus fruit after meeting him; a woman gave him the keys to her vacant condo to use as he pleased.

"Not to say the way I showed myself on Survivor isn't a part of me, but there's a lot more aspects to me," he said. "We're humans. We're real complex. I'm really, really happy and an outgoing guy.

"Emotionally, man, I have a lot of things going on in my life. At that moment in time, I was struggling with a lot of things as far as my relationship with God was concerned. Instead of trying to force things, I'm just letting them happen. And so far, it's honestly worked a heck of a lot better."

There's no plan at the present time for Racing Electronics to use Hantz for promotional purposes, but Hantz is eager to speak with whoever wants to meet him.

"I'm very personable, man, I'm very outgoing," he said. "I'm not above anybody; I'm on the same level as everybody else. I don't act like I'm all superstar and stuff like that.

"If you want to come talk to me, let's have a conversation. I'm happy to talk to you, and I'll sell you something, too."

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