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.
For more information on the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, visit www.eNASCAR.com. To learn more about Richmond Raceway eSports fueled by Sunoco, follow on Twitter or visit richmondraceway.com/esports.
2021 NASCAR Season
Richmond Raceway will celebrate its 75th anniversary over the Toyota Spring Race Weekend on April 17-18. America’s Premier Short Track will host the ToyotaCare 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Saturday, April 17 at 1:30 p.m. and Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, April 18 at 3:00 p.m.
The fall NASCAR Playoff Weekend at Richmond will include three races over two days starting with the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 150 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race on Friday, Sept. 10. America’s Premier Short Track will host a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, Sept. 11 with the Go Bowling 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at 2:30 p.m. and the Federated Auto Parts 400 Cup Series Playoff race at 7:30 p.m. This will be the 30th anniversary of the fall Cup race being held under the lights at Richmond.
NASCAR tickets are available for purchase via phone at 866-455-7223 or online at richmondraceway.com. Fans can view the full 2021 NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedules and purchase tickets at nascar.com/tickets.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States and owner of 16 of the nation’s major motorsports entertainment facilities. NASCAR consists of three national series (NASCAR Cup Series™, NASCAR Xfinity Series™, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™), four regional series (ARCA Menards Series, ARCA Menards Series East & West and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour), one local grassroots series (NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series) and three international series (NASCAR Pinty’s Series, NASCAR Peak Mexico Series, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series). The International Motor Sports Association™ (IMSA®) governs the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship™, the premier U.S. sports car series. NASCAR also owns Motor Racing Network, Racing Electronics, and ONE DAYTONA. Based in Daytona Beach, Florida, with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information visit www.NASCAR.com and www.IMSA.com, and follow NASCAR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (‘NASCAR’).
About Richmond Raceway
Richmond Raceway is America’s Premier Short Track annually hosting two NASCAR race weekends, featuring the NASCAR Cup Series and either the NASCAR Xfinity Series or NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, on the iconic ¾-mile D-shaped oval. Richmond Raceway is a regional leader for events including sports, live music and consumer trade shows. The Richmond Raceway Complex’s 1,100 plus acre multipurpose facility hosts more than 200 live events over 280 event days annually including concerts with top national recording artists at Virginia Credit Union LIVE!, the region’s only covered amphitheater. For more information, visit richmondraceway.com, richmondracewaycomplex.com, or vaculive.com.
About Virginia State University
Virginia State University, a public, comprehensive 1890 Land Grant institution and historically black college/university, is committed to the preparation of a diverse population of men and women through the advancement of academic programs and services that integrate instruction, research, extension, and outreach. The University endeavors to meet the educational needs of students, graduating lifelong learners who are well equipped to serve their communities as informed citizens, globally competitive leaders, and highly effective, ethical professionals.