The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing competes with more than just Formula One and IndyCar for the eyeballs and dollars of sports fans. NASCAR is a consistent challenger to the National Hockey League as the fourth member of the professional sports “big four”. The front-engine rear-wheel drive stock cars of NASCAR speed around oval tracks at upwards of 200 miles per hour creating an open-air stadium spectacle that’s tough to match. The countless number of on-track thrills—drafting, slingshots, wrecks, helmeted screaming matches—is why millions of fans invest so much time and money into the sport. So how does the business of NASCAR work? And what kinds of careers are to be had within a company that holds so much history yet often sits on the edge of tomorrow?
NASCAR was formed in 1948 by Bill France, Sr. who predicted people might enjoy watching stock cars race in a more organized, safe and exciting way. The business model worked—and billions of dollars in annual revenue proves it still does. For nearly 70 years the France family has run one of the most successful independent contractor organized businesses in the world. For all those decades a racing team’s owner assumed all the business risk for his team’s car, often at the whim of major sponsors who could pull funding at any time. Despite the risks, the partnership between NASCAR and car owners has worked out just fine. NASCAR’s top racing series, the Sprint Cup Series, has boomed into a 36-race season with stops all over the country. You’ve heard the phrase “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. Well, earlier this year, NASCAR made the bold decision to fix something that wasn’t quite broken.
In 2016 NASCAR rewrote its business model in a major way abolishing its tried-and-true independent contractor model for a more inclusive franchise-like system. Business is good for NASCAR and this move allows for more team value and financial stability across the sport. So what’s the big idea? NASCAR issued 36 charters to race teams. The kicker: to qualify the team must have a car that attempted every race since 2013. While organizations can technically be issued a maximum of 4 charters, only Hendricks Motorsports has reached that cap thus far. Value is no longer measured simply by totaling up sponsorship dollars; the new way of doing business is born from the idea that NASCAR wants to reward driver longevity over an ability to sell yourself each year. Holding one of these valuable charters guarantees revenue dollars along with a spot in Sprint Cup races. While the granular details make the new financial model more complicated than can be expressed here NASCAR’s point is clear: organizational stability will allow teams to invest in the future—develop a team, try out a younger driver, test racing theory—rather than many teams living year-to-year and paycheck-to-paycheck. It’s better for race owners, provides more opportunities for new drivers and should create a better long-term on-track product. Need another upside? Jobs in NASCAR will continue to grow at a hot pace in the years to come.
NASCAR has evolved as an employer over the years. While stadium personnel remain in high demand positions in behind-the-scenes strategic areas also need to be filled. NASCAR has offices across the country—North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, New York, California and more. Technical Systems Engineers will collect, monitor and analyze data as well as develop better simulations, new algorithms and statistical tooling. You’ll use your mechanical engineering experience to help NASCAR, and its race teams, better understand performance trends and safety realities based on real-world data. NASCAR offices in Charlotte and Daytona Beach need Desktop Support Technicians and Network Engineers to support the company’s many data and wireless networks, hardware systems as well as software and communication applications. Stadiums that host races hire jack-of-all-trades maintenance workers that will keep facilities up to their highest standards so race fans are safe and happy. Want to be closer to the action? Track Services Coordinators work on race day to make sure, during caution periods, that on-track procedures are handled smoothly and safely. You’ll be part of a team that performs vehicle rollover response and monitor situations when a driver must be extricated from his or her car.
Those are just a few of the many NASCAR jobs available. The best part? The top motorsports company in America offers thrilling career opportunities supporting race teams trackside as well as improving the fan experience behind-the-scenes. NASCAR along with its event partners need a host of smart, hard-working professionals that can create and manage the spectacle of race day as well as creative, detail-oriented minds that work in NASCAR offices to market the sport, support the staff and help leadership make smarter decisions. Maybe it’s time you become part of the NASCAR craze!