The Rod Campbell Award returns for its fourth year in 2024. Applications are now open for the award, which will provide the winner with six to eight weeks of paid apprenticeship work with a variety of motorsports organizations run by Campbell’s proteges. For past winners, this award has helped them jumpstart their career in the world of motorsports.
The winning candidate will be chosen by a panel made up of automotive and motorsport executives and gain paid experience with a selection of the companies listed below during the summer of 2023:
Bryan Herta Autosport
Canadian International Auto Show
Phoenicia Sports & Entertainment
RTD Media and Management
Racer Media & Marketing
Short Shoot TV
The 2021 Rod Campbell Award Winner, Cedric Burkhardt, landed a position managing Topcon’s Motorsports Marketing program. The program has quickly shown results as a platform for identifying and placing top young talent in the automotive and motorsports space.
Motorsports executive Jeff Swoboda commented on the program’s progress:
“The critical factor in expanding any organization in the automotive and motorsports business is skilled people,” he said. “After just a few years this program has gained a momentum of its own as a pipeline for identifying and providing talent to the broader industry.”
After working with Steinbrenner Racing through his Rod Campbell Award experience, 2022 recipient AJ Abate now works for the team as a partnerships and activations coordinator. 2023 recipient Madison Kinner will continue working with RTD Media, a company she was given the opportunity to work with through the award.
By connecting the past three recipients with industry leaders, the Rod Campbell Award has opened many doors in the motorsports world.
“I was looking for ways to break into the motorsports industry, but I couldn’t find many opportunities for me,” Kinner said. “When I found the Rod Campbell Award, it seemed like exactly what I was looking for: a way to gain experience in the motorsports industry and hopefully help me jump-start my career. Not only was the experience what I hoped for, it was so much more than that.”
“I learned so much about so many different aspects of the industry. AJ and Steinbrenner Racing showed me what working with partners and sponsors can be like and gave me the opportunity to post on their Instagram for a race weekend. Steve Madincea taught me so much about digital collectibles and how to effectively create pitches for a product that people have varying levels of knowledge about. Spending a weekend with NBC Sports at the NASCAR/IndyCar weekend allowed me to see what goes into producing a race weekend full of broadcasts, and I really enjoyed being able to help where I could throughout the weekend. RTD Media allowed me to write press releases for a variety of their different clients.
“Through this opportunity, I gained a more in-depth knowledge of multiple racing series, and I got hands-on practice writing press releases I don’t think I could’ve gotten anywhere else. In writing a few stories for Bryan Herta Autosport, I got to speak with some drivers and team members and then share their passion for motorsports with the world, which was an incredibly rewarding experience. I don’t know of any other program that would’ve given me the variety and quality of experience that the Rod Campbell Award did.”
Kinner continued, “The award also gave me some amazing mentors. I am incredibly grateful for everyone the award allowed me to connect with and the support that I now have. My experience was truly life-changing, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the 2024 Rod Campbell Award winner.”
Not only have recipients benefited from this award, but former finalists have also gone on to find success in the motorsports and sports industries.
Former finalist Eddie Fuhrer runs a racing blog, usopenwheelnation.com, that specializes in covering open wheel racing series in the United States. Fuhrer also interned for NASCAR on FOX in Charlotte, where he contributed to the operations of their studio shows and feature shoots and edited video footage for NASCAR Race Hub.
Will Hahn, a finalist in the award’s inaugural year, said it was an incredible experience to meet the panel and create some connections in the motorsports industry. Hahn is currently a producer/editor for the New York Jets content team.
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Rod Campbell, who passed away in March 2020, left behind a lasting legacy. Not only the success that he achieved personally, but the large number of people that he mentored and launched into their own orbits of business success. A founding group of Sean Jones (7R Events, Bryan Herta Autosport, Steinbrenner Racing), Townsend Bell (NBC Sports, Short Shoot TV), Jeff Swoboda (BHA, Luftgekühlt, Short Shoot), Jason Campbell (Canadian International Auto Show), David Scheinberg (Campbell Marketing & Communications), Steve Madincea (Fantastec), Chris Lencheski (Phoenicia Sport), Jose Matiauda (Interact Automotive), and Paul Pfanner (Racer Media & Communications) hope to continue Rod’s legacy for years to come with the Rod Campbell Award.
Ages: 18 – 23
Pursuing a career in the fields of automotive or motorsports journalism, public relations, marketing, sales, business development, or sponsorship.
Applications due by February 20, 2024.