NASCAR VIP Experience & Interview with NASCAR Managing Director Brandon Thompson

NASCAR VIP Experience 

Recently, I was invited to attend a NASCAR /ACRA VIP Experience tailgate in Nashville to engage minority press. The goal of the event was to deliver awareness for career/internship opportunities for minorities interested in pursuing careers in the NASCAR world, increase awareness for diversity in the sport, and most importantly gain the attention of future generations to come.

(l-r) Caryn Grant, Keosha Thomas, Destini Orr and Brandon Thompson
(l-r) Caryn Grant, Keosha Thomas, Destini Orr and Brandon Thompson

Upon entering the event, while the weather was rainy, our host provided top-notch access on the NASCAR tour bus. Greeted and welcomed with open arms of Southern hospitality, the bus was catered with pizza from Slim and Husky and a full open bar on the bus.

The event was hosted by NASCAR Touring Series and Managing Director Brandon Thompson. Thompson a Nashville native and Pearl Cohn High School alumnus, is a product of the NASCAR internship program. We met his diversity team, led by two educated African-American women, Manager of Multicultural Development Caryn Grant and Touring Series Racing Operations Destini Orr.

We learned a great wealth of information on the NASCAR Diversity Internship program and how it can benefit minorities interested in working with NASCAR, as well as athletes interested in driving for NASCAR.

Caryn Grant reveals, “I was introduced to NASCAR’s multicultural development efforts through my graduate school program which has a focus on diversity and social impact in sports. I joined NASCAR in 2017 and have been able to see the impact of our initiatives both on and off the track through my role as Manager of Multicultural Development.”

Overall, it was a great event and a once in a lifetime experience that all should embrace and experience. It was eye-opening to learn there was a multi-cultural diversity department within NASCAR and a lot of opportunities for college students, recent graduates and professionals who are passionate about sports careers

For more information on the NASCAR Diversity Internship program go here: To learn more about current career opportunities visit here: .

Q and A with NASCAR Managing Director Brandon Thompson

Meet Brandon Thompson, a native Nashvillian and proud Pearl Cohn Magnet High School

(l-r) Keosha Thomas and NASCAR Managing Director Brandon Thompson
(l-r) Keosha Thomas and NASCAR Managing Director Brandon Thompson

alum who happens to be the fearless leader at NASCAR. Today he is making major strides in the world of NASCAR as the Managing Director of the NASCAR Touring Series. He received his formal introduction into the world of NASCAR as a college student at Clark Atlanta University when he was selected to be an intern for the NASCAR Diversity Internship program. He worked with the Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tennessee and worked his way to the top.

Take the time to get to know Brandon Thompson here:

Hobbies:  Youth basketball coach, collecting vinyl records and attending concerts/live music performances

College:  Bachelor of Arts in Business from Clark Atlanta University

Fraternity: Member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc.

Who are some of your top picks as NASCAR drivers?

BT: There are a few drivers that stand out to me for different reasons. I admire the personalities and impact on the sport. My top picks would be: Richard Petty (200 wins, 7 Championships) Wendell Scott (only black driver to win a Cup Race), Tim Richmond (polarizing figure), Dale Earnhardt, Bubba Wallace (only active Black driver in NASCAR), and Kyle Busch (200 wins across all NASCAR National Series).

What do you enjoy most about your career?

BT: I enjoy the opportunity to make a positive impact on the sport. My uncles have told me stories about how they used to sneak into the races at the Nashville Fairgrounds. For me to be a part of putting on races at the same venue decades later makes me feel like I’m honoring my family’s history.

When did you fall in love with your job?

BT: On June 7, 2003, Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon. I was standing on the pit toad when the engines fired and the hair on my arms literally stood up and I got chills. That is a moment I will never forget.

What is the most important thing you have taken with you from
your internship into your current role as Managing Director of NASCAR?

BT: Never leave meetings without action plans. Additionally, leave no ambiguity.

What is your motivation or goal?

BT:  I am passionate about three things. My family, Black Culture and NASCAR. What motivates me is the opportunity I have every day to impact those things and the opportunity to create opportunities for these things to overlap.

What advice would you give a minority or native Nashvillian that is seriously interested in pursuing a sports career or role at NASCAR?

BT:  Attend races, follow the sport on social, learn as much about the business as possible.

Who has been your role model or mentor in college as an intern to your current role?

BT: I’ve had a few mentors. Phil Horton who is an HBCU grad, is the first Pit Crew Coach in NASCAR and is responsible for placing a large amount of diverse and women crew members in the industry. Max Siegel who owns Rev Racing and is also the CEO of USA Track & Field.

Discover the requirements to the NASCAR Diversity Internship program below:

   NASCAR Diversity Internship Program 

NDIP is a 10-week, paid summer internship that seeks diverse undergraduate and graduate college students with high academic standing at elite institutions. NASCAR Diversity Interns contribute to the complex motorsports workforce; learn from leading sports executives in weekly Lunch and Learns; and network with industry professionals.

2019 Requirements: 

  • Be a member of one or more of the following races/ethnic minority classifications: Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Latino or Hispanic, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
  • Be currently enrolled in, or be considered a recent graduate of an undergraduate or graduate degree program who has not graduated before fall semester 2018
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible to work in the U.S.
  • Be at least in their sophomore year of college
  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Be willing to relocate to Florida, North Carolina or various locations across the United States
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