Sports Link Students Partner with NASCAR at Brickyard 400

BY ALEX KARTMAN | Ball State Sports Link 

Among a field of 40 drivers, national television broadcasters, journalists and pit crews, roamed seven Sports Link students Sept. 8-10 at the Brickyard 400.

Working with NASCAR Digital Media, SL students filmed, photographed and produced a variety of multimedia content for NASCAR digital and social media.

The Sports Link student crew consisted of Adrian Jarding, Connor Nichols, Quinton Zielke, Seena Greiwe, Jordan Nemeth, Cheyn Roux and Mick Tidrow.

The experience allowed students to experience a unique sport on a national scale.

Senior Adrian Jarding grew up around the sport and leaped at the opportunity to cover it.

“I’ve been watching NASCAR since I could walk and talk, but I never once dreamed of actually covering the sport,” Jarding said.  “To be the executive producer of the strategy for the Brickyard 400, which is one of the crown jewel races, was beyond humbling and also very special to me. It was something which I was truly grateful for and something I never took for granted the whole time I was there.”

Senior Connor Nichols brought his unique style of filming and editing to the Brickyard. After working many large sporting events like the Final Four, NASCAR still surprised Nichols.

“Simply hearing how loud the cars are was a great experience in itself,” Nichols said. “But more importantly, being able to be right next to drivers, such as Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick was so cool. I remember watching NASCAR races with my grandpa when I was younger and I always looked up to these drivers.”

Alumni Connection

Students worked alongside Ball State Sports Link Alum Torey Fox who now serves as NASCAR’s Senior Coordinator, Social Media Content and Platform Strategist.

“It was a pleasure hosting and working with Sports Link students at the Brickyard,” Fox said.  “NDM received a ton of great video and photo content that continues to populate our social and digital channels.  We hope each student enjoyed their time seeing our sport firsthand and we look forward to working with Sports Link again in the near future.”

In addition to the festivities and intensity of the race, students also battled the conditions as rain canceled all track activity over the weekend.

“Unfortunately due to the rain the race got pushed to Monday and we didn’t have the full crew because of class conflicts, but we still created several pieces of content which were featured,” Jarding said.

Final Lap Sprint

With only a few laps remaining in the race, the winner still wasn’t apparent.

“With three laps to go, I was in Denny Hamlin’s pit ready to get the shot of his crew celebrating a victory,” Nichols said.  “However, with two laps remaining, Brad Keselowski quickly passed Hamlin to take the lead.

“After that happened, I immediately started sprinting to Keselowski’s pit, which was pretty far away from Hamlin’s. Right when I arrived at Keselowski’s pit, I hit the record button and shortly after, Keselowski crossed the finish line and his crew went crazy. The adrenaline rush of sprinting to another pit and capturing that moment is something I will never forget.”

Capturing The Moment

Sports Link graduate assistant Cheyn Roux photographed the race and also covered Keselowski’s victory.

“My favorite part was following the crew of Keselowski after he won the race. Seeing the emotions and adrenaline of the guys who all had a role in the race win was rather cool.

“My experience at the Brickyard 400 was a very unique one that I won’t forget. High energy, very fast spaced and content specific that opened my perspective to social media in professional sports.”

Prepared By Ball State

Every student felt prepared for their Brickyard experience because of the work they have done at Ball State.

“SL prepared me for the Brickyard by having me be used to getting content pushed as quickly as you can because there are specific times where content is more valuable,” Roux said.

Sophomore Seena Greiwe filmed all weekend at the track, focusing on drivers Kyle Busch & Kevin Harvick and the atmosphere of the Brickyard.

“Sports Link prepared me for this experience because they make sure I know what is expected of me. They do a great job teaching me everything about shooting and editing I need to know to be successful.”

Jarding was able to translate his work directly from Sports Link to NASCAR.

“I feel SL prepared me for the experience in many different ways, but the biggest of which came from the experience I’ve had covering social media with Sports Link’s own accounts.

“The person who gave us this opportunity, Torey Fox, and I spent countless hours working together on the social media accounts for Sports Link, cutting live broadcasts, making short/quick content and finding unique ways to push the boundaries of what is possible in that space. That experience was extremely valuable in helping me with preparing for NASCAR.”

“My experience at the Brickyard 400 was amazing,” Nemeth said. “I’ve never had an opportunity to be that close to the action, so to be able to be right in front of the drivers and see behind-the-scenes action was incredible. I’m so grateful to be a part of an organization that provides me with these kinds of connections and opportunities.”

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Griewe, Nemeth and Zielke focus on driver Kevin Harvick

Junior Quinton Zielke brought 2 years of Sports Link experience to the track. “Sports Link has equipped me with the confidence to take on any new task, whether I know anything about it or not. I know the skills I have learned and developed through Sports Link will continue to open up incredible opportunities in the coming future.”

No matter how many other cameramen filmed the race or took photographs of cars, Sports Link students stood alongside professionals all weekend, and created engaging content.

“Without Sports Link, there is no way I would be prepared for this experience,” Nichols said.  “While Sports Link has provided me the resources to achieve success in this field, one of the most important things that Sports Link has taught me is to have confidence in myself.

“With a ton of videographers and photographers, it could be easy to feel intimidated, especially when you are one of the youngest ones. But, I have the confidence to trust in my abilities to create fun and creative content, plus also feel like I belong in that environment, no matter what my age is.”



Author: Alex Kartman

I am the Director of Digital Sports Production and Ball State Sports Link. I produce, direct, and film sports ranging from feature stories to live broadcasts. I freelance as a technical director for the Indiana Pacers, ESPN, Fox Sports and other regional TV. I also love film and attempted to be a critic in a past life.

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