Motorsports Initiative gains momentum with addition of professionals, curriculum

October 7, 2009

Indiana State University is expanding the Motorsports Studies Initiative with the addition of two racing professionals to its advisory board and two ISU departments developing student coursework related to motorsports.

ISU in August announced that the Motorsports Studies Initiative - which until that time offered only courses in motorsports management and the Team Sycamore Racing student activity - was expanding its effort. Marketing professor Joyce Young joined the program to serve as coordinator of the leadership team. Business professor Joe Harder developed a course to bridge information systems and motorsports, and technology professor Randy Peters explored new ways to incorporate Team Sycamore Racing into the classroom.

Since then, Young's marketing students have begun to develop analysis reports that will be used to assist with the growth of listenership on the Internet site RaceFanRadio.com. That collaboration led Young to tap the department of communication's radio faculty and students to develop content that will eventually play on the Internet site.

Specific show content is yet to be determined, she said, but the shows are likely to be 15-minute segments that highlight the motorsports-related majors and minors.

Communication Professor Debra Worley said her department is eager to provide students with classroom experiences that prepare them for careers in communication fields. Joining forces with others in the university to carry out that goal only makes sense, she said.

"This truly is a win-win situation for everyone involved," Worley said.

Young has also turned to the department of elementary, early, and special education to design a motorsports-themed summer reading program for public libraries throughout the state. Assistant Professor Lisa Cutter's students are busy creating and gathering materials that will be used by the libraries.

"Whenever appropriate, and if possible, we hope to engage more ISU students in using the context of motorsports as an experiential learning tool within their own discipline," Young said.

By expanding the Motorsports Studies Initiative to include the ISU colleges of arts and sciences and education, it creates additional opportunities for students from a variety of fields to engage in experiential learning in a new and exciting way, Young said.

Young's efforts to expand the Motorsports Studies Initiative are extending beyond the boundaries of the campus with the addition of two racing professionals to the Motorsports Studies Program Industry Advisory Board.

Paxton Waters, owner of the Carmel-based Paxton Waters Architecture. P.C. and a renowned track architect, has agreed to sit on the board.

Waters has designed the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa, the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Pikes Peak International Raceway. He is currently helping to design and build a scale replica of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as it was from 1909 to 1911. That track will be featured in an upcoming film that recounts the first Indianapolis 500.

"We are very fortunate to have someone of this caliber working with us," Young said. "Paxton Waters is one of the leading racetrack designers in the world."

Young has also tapped David Bowers to serve on the board.

Bowers serves as the chief sales officer at Prairie Hills Motorsport Club. Prairie Hills, in northwest Indiana, offers its exclusive seven-mile racing facility to racing professionals. Bowers has an extensive background in motorsports as a driver and team owner. In 2004, he retired as vice chairman of product certification for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after having been with the organization for 24 years.

Contact: Joyce Young, professor of marketing, College of Business, Indiana State University, 812-237-2000 or joyce.young@indstate.edu.

Writer: Rachel Wedding McClelland, assistant director of media relations, Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or rachel.mcclelland@indstate.edu.

 

 

Story Highlights

Joyce Young, marketing professor at Indiana State University, announces changes in the Motorsports Studies Initiative that include coursework offered by the departments of communication and elementary, early and special education. Racing professionals David Bowers and Paxton Waters join the motorsports advisory board.

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