Richmond Raceway and Virginia State University announce a pilot program to evolve the track’s current eSports team and offer new opportunities to historically black colleges and university (HBCU) students interested in careers in sports management. Through this strategic alliance, Richmond Raceway eSports fueled by Sunoco operations will be managed in partnership with Virginia State University’s Department of Sport Management.
“We’re ambitious that this pilot program can become a tool to connect with HBCUs across the country, as well as cultivate diverse talent,” said Brandon Thompson, vice president of diversity and inclusion, NASCAR. “As NASCAR continues to strengthen its diversity and inclusion platform, partnerships with schools like Virginia State University will exemplify our creative approach to reach the next generation of sports leaders.”
As part of an expanded relationship with Richmond Raceway, the first-of-its-kind program will teach students how to manage an eSports team competing at the highest level of sim-racing. Richmond Raceway eSports fueled by Sunoco, which is competing in its fourth season in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, will continue to field two cars driven by Jimmy Mullis (No. 46 Sunoco Toyota Camry) and Zack Novak (No. 90 Virginia Tourism Corporation Toyota Camry), as they compete for the largest purse in series history – totaling $330,000.
“We are proud to partner with Virginia State University on the evolution of Richmond Raceway eSports fueled by Sunoco to become a program that will educate and grow the future leaders of the sport on and off the track,” said Richmond Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier. “Our eSports program continues to resonate with a new generation of race fans, so we look forward to Virginia State University leading the program to new heights in the future.”
Through this initiative, NASCAR will welcome a Virginia State University student intern to manage the program and coordinate with students in the sports marketing department to fulfill curriculum requirements and experiential projects involving team operations, graphic design, social media marketing, live event coordination and more.
“VSU is dedicated to using a holistic approach to academic excellence and student success and engagement,” says VSU President Dr. Makola M. Abdullah. “This partnership will help to meet our goals of providing our students with leadership and professional development skills and experiential learning to further prepare them to be globally competitive.”
To celebrate this new initiative, Virginia State University President Makola Abdullah will give the command in tonight’s eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series race at virtual Richmond Raceway, and the school will be featured on Zack Novak’s No. 90 Virginia Tourism Corporation Toyota Camry.
Tonight’s eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series race at virtual Richmond Raceway will stream live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on eNASCAR.com.
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