Hello everyone! My name is Stephanie Bigelow, I am from Winchester, IN, and I can literally say I was raised in a race shop. I sometimes wonder how my dad was able to keep me in one piece and get his car race ready for the coming weekend. I suppose I should just be thankful I am alive. I remember when I would want some attention I would ask my dad what I could do to help and then when there was nothing I would complain about being bored. Now, being 21 and almost through college I can’t believe I uttered those words! Back then, going to the racetrack meant long hot days and long trips in the back of a truck. I knew I would always hold onto those days but I never thought I would be molding my career around them.
Currently, I am a student at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) studying Sport Management with a certificate in Motorsports Studies. I am gearing my degree towards motorsports and hopefully one day I will manage a racing facility. I have been racing myself for almost 3 years now. I run with the Champion Racing Association (CRA) in their Front Wheel Drive division. I love being able to experience the sport from behind the wheel. The adrenalin rush is like a drug. I say that because I literally go through withdraws during the winter months. So, to keep myself “high on racing” I am going to school to guarantee I will never lose my mind, “WINNING”.
Having a grandpa like Tom Bigelow, a nine time Indy 500 competitor and USAC Champion, has also helped me learn all about the racing community. He and my dad Alan have mentored me in my own racing and introduced me to many racing legends. This was proved to my boss, Scott Smith, at Lucas Oil Raceway during my first week as the public relations intern. During the first Thursday Night Thunder event we were both in the media center and I was able to carry on conversations with almost everyone because they personally knew me or my family. Scott must have thought it was pretty impressive because he made the sarcastic comment that this event was like my homecoming.
Being able to work at Lucas Oil Raceway will launch my racing career. Here, I will gain real life experience by working on projects that are directly related to what I want to do later in life.
My first week here has been way too much fun to be considered work. I have been working on driver bio’s to put in the program for the week of Speedfest as well as a section that will consist of random facts about the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Lucas Oil Raceway. During the Thursday Night Thunder event I was able to walk around and take pictures of the sprint cars being unloaded and set up. As well as update Facebook and Twitter with all that was going on at the track.
One thing I got to do that was not in the job objective was singing the National Anthem that evening. I was suppose to sing one time last year but was unable to due to an unexpected appendectomy. So when the singer for the Thursday Night Thunder event cancelled Wes Collier, the GM here at Lucas Oil Raceway, asked if I would do it. Knowing I couldn’t say no to the head honcho I swallowed my nerves and prayed my kidneys wouldn’t explode like my appendix did the year before. Thankfully everything went well.
The following night was the first Friday Night Rage event on the drag strip. Drag racing is so foreign to me but I learned a lot that night. I was able to just sit back and take it all in for awhile and then I headed out to capture pictures. The cool thing about drag racing is your ticket gives you access to everything unlike oval racing where your pit pass costs extra. It was really interesting being able to watch the crowd mingle right next to the cars that where competing. Also to make that night more unique Drift Indy was competing. Drifting is almost like an art form. Those guys are so proud of their rides and what they can make them do.
Overall the first week was better then I expected. It wasn’t until Saturday night when I got home that I noticed how sore my feet were from walking and my checks were from smiling. I am looking forward to reflecting on every week so I can follow how much I grow.
For more pictures be sure to check out the Lucas Oil Raceway Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Lucas-Oil-Raceway/172773642764282
For a schedule of events go to: www.lucasoilraceway.com
We also have a Twitter as I mentioned! Follow our tweets at: http://twitter.com/#!/LucasOilRaceway