As Sport Management students continue racing on to find great opportunities with top-name organizations, they might want to look to Henry Lanear '19 for inspiration. Lanear became the department’s first student to intern with NASCAR and its Diversity Internship Program this summer.
After attending the NASCAR All-Star Weekend in Charlotte, NC, Lanear was located at the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City as a Consumer Marketing Intern. The Kansas Speedway hosts two annual NASCAR races, the KC Masterpiece 400 in May and the Hollywood Casino 400, a playoff race in October.
Lanear began his internship with the speedway one week before the KC Masterpiece 400. During the race weekend, Lanear worked on the Ignition Garage Fan Hospitality area and coordinated driver appearances with different departments.
“I must say, the coolest part of the internship was being able to go onto Victory Lane with Kevin Harvick, who won the race, and his team,” Lanear said.
Lanear also carried out many other day-to-day duties such as working on the marketing media plan for the Hollywood Casino 400 and the implementation of a new kids zone at the track. One of Lanear’s bigger projects was conducting research for NASCAR and the speedway on how to target millennials and diverse demographics and engage them with the sport.
Lanear said he wanted to participate in the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program because of the positive reviews and prestige of the program.
“The program has been around for several decades and the majority of the program's alumni work in the sports industry today,” Lanear said. “I knew that I wanted a corporate brand on my resume, one that would prepare me to enter the senior year job market, and I think that's what I got!”
Professor in the Practice Tom Stallings said he was pleased to see Lanear be a trailblazer for the department at NASCAR, given his stellar performance at previous internships with Star Innovations and Select Sports Group.
“NASCAR is such a well-known brand, and during my time at Rice we had never placed a student with [them],” Stallings said. “Because of his performance there, we are now developing a relationship with NASCAR, and we hope that Henry is just the first of many students we can send into their intern program.”
Lanear said he enjoyed a supportive and welcoming environment at the Kansas Speedway, having several opportunities to speak with both the President and Vice Chairman of NASCAR as well as the President of the track. He also appreciated the opportunity to extend his learning beyond the preparation his Sport Management and Business classes gave him and into the working world.
“Being able to go into the real world and apply the concepts that I learned in class is the most valuable experience,” Lanear said.
Lanear said the skills he has learned in the classroom and throughout all of his internship experiences have set him up comfortably to pursue his future career interests. In only a few weeks, Lanear’s work will again be on showcase during the Hollywood Casino 400, but we can expect to see even more from Lanear in the future as he nears the completion of his Sport Management education.
Elliot Stahr, a sophomore from Irvine, California, is double majoring in Psychology and Philosophy.