Wednesday, Aug 10

CHEVROLET NCS AT NASHVILLE: Kyle Larson and the Urban Youth Racing School's Anthony and Michelle Martin, Press Conference Transcript

ERIK MOSES: “I’m Erik Moses, President and General Manager here at Nashville Superspeedway. We have a pretty special presentation and discussion this morning. Most of you are familiar with the Urban Youth Racing School out of Philadelphia and the great work that they’re doing to help bring along the next generation of motorsports. As I always like to say, with young people, we kind of have to play the three ‘E’s: we have to give them exposure, give them experience and then hopefully help them with the pursuit of excellence. That’s what they’re doing at the Urban Youth Racing School as it relates to motorsports, especially as it relates to inner city youth and motorsports.

 

They’re here this morning. I’d like to recognize the head table. We have Anthony and Michelle Martin from the Urban Youth Racing School. We have our defending champion, Kyle Larson. Not only our Ally 400 defending champion, but our Cup Series defending champion. We also have Lauren Campbell from our great partners at Ally. With that, I’ll turn it over to them.”

 

ANTHONY MARTIN: “Good morning, everyone. My name is Anthony Martin. I’m the Founder of the Urban Youth Racing School based in Philadelphia. This is our 24th year of existence.

 

First of all, I want to thank all of our sponsors for participating with us. My wife will mention them in case I forget someone. But really fast, I want to tell you who we are. The program was started, as I mentioned, 24 years ago with the goal of introducing inner city and urban America to the motorsports industry, which is a very expensive sport to be a part of. But also, if you don’t have any relations to anyone in the industry, more than likely you’re not going to get into the industry. My goal was to be able to actually do that. In doing that, we’ve had over the last 24 years, over 7,700 kids go through our program. A lot of our kids now are engineers. One of our kids is a major executive at NASCAR right now. They’re kind of all over the place, but the thing that’s really important about what we actually do is saving lives and giving these kids an opportunity to do something that they wouldn’t be able to do had it not been for what we actually do at the racing school. So in saying that, again, I want to thank everyone. I know we’re on a time restraint here, but that’s kind of what we actually do.

 

July 22 is our Grand Prix, which is our annual fundraiser we do every year. The reason why we do that ladies and gentlemen is because this program is free for the kids. If they had to pay for this, they wouldn’t be able to afford this. So us actually being able to do this as a fundraiser, this keeps this going. Putting this together with Ally, General Motors and NASCAR, all the different folks that work with us – this is really, really great stuff.

 

I also want to thank the Nashville Superspeedway and Erik Moses for having us today and having us be a part of this.”

 

MICHELLE MARTIN: “Good morning, everyone. My name is Michelle Martin. As Anthony mentioned, I am the COO of the Urban Youth Racing School. I want to thank everyone for having us – Nashville Superspeedway, Erik (Moses), thank you so much for the introduction.

 

I definitely want to give a huge thank you to our friend over here, Kyle Larson. As we’re introducing the Urban Youth Racing School Grand Prix of Philadelphia with Kyle Larson and friends on July 22, we are super excited to have this event to bring NASCAR into the inner city. It will be the first we will have so many NASCAR drivers – probably about 11 of them – that will be coming in and racing in go-karts; just to kind of bring that excitement. In Philadelphia, we have a lot of illegal driving that’s very dangerous. We just really hope that on this day, we can bring everyone together and unite them; the motorsports community, unite the urban and African American community, in one place for a great time and to show them what racing is really about. They’ll have a chance to meet the drivers face-to-face and different things like that; and to see what this motorsports world has shown us these past 24 years that we’ve been able to deliver to our students.

 

Another thing that we’re doing is our STEM midway. Like in motorsports, you guys have a midway where all of the fans come and have fun right before the races start. In our STEM midway, we’re going to have our partners, like Ally and other folks; and even bring the racing school outside and have these different activities. So we’ll have our CO2 dragster track outside; a 60-foot track. We’ll have our drones outside. We have different programs – they’ll all be outside. We’ll have different institutions, universities, community organizations – they’re all coming out to kind of show our community what STEM is like and all of the job opportunities and career opportunities that are out there. We’re super excited about that, but definitely excited to have Kyle on board. And of course, Lauren (Campbell) from Ally, who’s coming as our sponsor for this year’s Grand Prix. We’re really happy and excited to have them on board for the first time as a partner with the Urban Youth Racing School Grand Prix.”

 

KYLE LARSON: “I don’t really have a lot more to add, but I’m just really excited to be able to bring the Grand Prix to the inner city and invite a lot of our fellow drivers to be a part of it. Thank you, again, to Lauren (Campbell) from Ally for what she’s done for the Urban Youth Racing School. Anthony and Michelle (Martin) continue to do great things. It only gets better and better and I like being a small part of it. I’ve had a great relationship with them since I’ve basically been Cup Series racing and have grown into being much closer to them the last few years and a lot of the kids, too.

 

I’m excited to get there in July; see a lot of their faces, compete with some of them and rub some fenders.”

 

LAUREN CAMPBELL: “Thank you, everybody. Thank you for being here. First of all, we’re super excited to say welcome to Nashville. We’re excited for our second year of the Ally 400. Really excited to be working with the Urban Youth Racing School. I don’t know why it took us so long. I don’t know if you guys are familiar, but we also have a program called Fueling Futures that we do. We work with our friends at Hendrick Motorsports who introduce motorsports careers to students that don’t think that there’s careers beyond just the driver’s seat. Really tapping into the STEM opportunities.

 

Last year, we started talking. And then this year, we were like ‘we need to be working together on this’. We’re really excited for that weekend. We will be bringing in our Fueling Futures program that we do with Hendrick Motorsports in the morning with the students. And then we’ll be out there as a sponsor and we’ll be in the STEM midway. We’re really excited for this opportunity to be working with these guys.”

 

ANTHONY MARTIN: “I also want to mention our relationship with Chevrolet, which is going on 22 years also. So, I want to say thank you to Chevy because if it wasn’t for Chevrolet, we wouldn’t still be around here today. So, thank you Chevy.”

 

MODERATOR: WE’LL GO INTO A GENERAL Q&A. IF YOU HAVE QUESTION FOR ANYONE HERE AT THE TABLE, PLEASE RAISE YOUR HAND AND WE’LL GET A MICROPHONE TO YOU.

 

LAUREN, WITH ALL OF THE PROGRAMS OUT THERE, WHY DOES ALLY SEE THE URBAN YOUTH RACING SCHOOL PROGRAM AS SUCH AN EXCEPTIONAL PROGRAM TO BE A PART OF?

LAUREN CAMPBELL: “Yeah, absolutely. At Ally, the cornerstone efforts of giving back to the community and making the community stronger are around economic mobility and financial education. I think that just really aligns with what these guys are doing at the Urban Youth Racing School; helping to empower these communities. Teaching them financial education and economic mobility through the education and the STEM programming. It just made a ton of sense for us to work together.”

 

FOR THE FOLKS AT THE URBAN YOUTH RACING SCHOOL AND KYLE (LARSON), WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOUR SCHOOL TO HAVE SOMEBODY LIKE KYLE WANT TO BE TIED SO CLOSELY? KYLE, WHAT DO YOU GET FROM WORKING WITH ALL OF THESE YOUNG KIDS THAT ARE SO INTERESTED IN RACING?

MICHELLE MARTIN: “Working with Kyle (Larson) has been so great. Say we have Michael Jordan – to me, Kyle is like our Michael Jordan and we have access to Kyle and our students have access to Kyle; so it means that any questions that they have, anything that they want to know about racing. A lot of our students do want to be drivers. Will they have the opportunity? We don’t know because the sport is so expensive. But while they’re driving go-karts and Kyle can give them tips and talk to them about different things, I’m certainly going to take that opportunity to do that. I would be crazy not to.”

 

ANTHONY MARTIN: “Kyle (Larson) has been absolutely phenomenal for us. We’ve been working with Kyle since I think 2017 and Kyle has been very supportive. I come from the sports marketing world and let me say this to you: there’s talkers and there’s doers. Kyle is definitely a doer, so we really appreciate that at the Urban Youth Racing School.”

 

KYLE LARSON: “I’ve really enjoyed the close relationship that I’ve had with Anthony and Michelle (Martin) and now with a lot of the students there. With me donating a couple of simulators to the school, there’s been a few different times where I’ll get a phone call from Anthony at 6:00 p.m. or something and it’s a couple of the kids asking me how to get around a certain track on iRacing or something. In the times that I’ve been to their school, just chatting with some of the kids who are really into the driving part of it - who do maybe race go-karts or something and are looking for the next steps and are trying to navigate in what I feel like based on the region that they live in, what would be the best route to go. Just having a close relationship with them, as well as the kids, has been really neat for me.”

 

FOR ANTHONY AND MICHELLE (MARTIN) – THE FACT THAT YOU’RE ACTUALLY TAKING THIS TO AN URBAN SETTING, NASCAR HAS WORKED REALLY HARD TO TAKE THE PRODUCT TO URBAN SETTINGS, SUCH AS THE LA COLISEUM. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO TAKE THE PRODUCT INTO THE CITY BECAUSE THESE KIDS ARE NOT COMING OUT OF THE CITY TO THE PRODUCT?

MICHELLE MARTIN: “It’s extremely important. A lot of times, we have to realize and recognize that these kids are a product of their environment. Not only them, but their parents and grandparents. Some of these kids for generations have not left a one-mile radius of where they live. And that’s mind-boggling to most, but with our program, we understand we have to meet them where they are at. That’s what we’re doing now: bringing it into the inner city. It’s literally in a residential neighbor. We’re hoping that the neighbors just come out and come across the street to the park. It’s going to be in front of the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia. It’s kind of like the west part of Philadelphia, in a sense. That’s where we’re going to have it and we’re hoping the neighborhood comes out. We’re sure that they will because we’ve done it before many, many years ago. That’s how we knew that African Americans had an interest in motorsports.”

 

WITH YOU ALL BEING BASED IN PHILADELPHIA, MAYBE THIS IS THE FIRST ONE OUT OF THE BOX AND YOU WANT TO SEE HOW THIS GOES, BUT CAN YOU INVISION HAVING THESE MINI GRAND PRIX’S IN CONJUNCTION WHERE NASCAR GOES IN THE FUTURE WHEN THEY ARE IN BIG MARKETS?

MICHELLE MARTIN: “Absolutely. Actually our first Grand Prix was in 2005. We’ve had a couple of them and we’ve moved them throughout the city of Philadelphia, just to kind of gain the interest of the community. I think that’s something we’d definitely love to do; just kind of move it around. We’re in the trenches in these communities. And it’s not just in Philadelphia – we get calls from everywhere all of the time: Miami, Los Angeles, Detroit, New York. It’s like how can we put a racing school here. All of that takes money to do it and that’s where we are. We definitely want to expand. It’s something that we talk about all of the time, but we also have to think about how do we pay for that expansion. Motorsports is just expensive, but it’s something that’s heavy on our minds that we want to do. Honestly, we want kids from other urban communities to get the same experiences that the kids from Philadelphia are getting.”

 

ANTHONY MARTIN: “You mentioned Fairmount Park – back in 2001 and 2002, I’d been with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and they were very, very successful when we actually did them there. So the urban market place did show up for those events and that’s why we’re positive that in doing it in Fairmount Park again this year, it will be very successful.”

 

DO YOU SEE HAVING ANY MOTORSPORTS DISPLAYS AT THE PLEASE TOUCH MUSEUM AND AT THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE TO JUST KIND OF INCORPORATE THAT STEM MENTALITY SO THE KIDS CAN GET IT EARLY ON AND TAKE IT WITH THEM?

MICHELLE MARTIN: “Definitely. Inside of the Please Touch Museum, they do have a transportation-type of an exhibit, but it’s not racing and that’s a big difference. So we do encourage them to do it. I know that the African American Museum has reached out to us to working with them, so we’re kind of seeing what that will look like. We’re still in talks with them, but we’ll figure it out. A lot of times, we have to not force, but really talk to the people in Philadelphia because it’s a ‘stick and ball’ town. We have to convince them as to why motorsports is so unique. I always have to tell them – when you go to a corporation, they will have a sports side that handles everything sports and they will have a division that’s just motorsports. That should tell you how big and important this sport is.”

 

NOT NECESSARILY THE GRAND PRIX, BUT IS IT ON YOUR RADAR TO EXPAND YOUR STEM-BASED PROGRAMMING INTO OTHER MARKETS AND WHAT MIGHT THEY BE?

MICHELLE MARTIN: “Absolutely. Charlotte, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Chicago were probably the top-six cities that have been requesting that we put a racing school there. We field calls from them all of the time. And when we go out of the country, we have Paris who have called us when they were having an issue with their youth. They wanted to get them into something. Those would be our top-six cities to expand into. We did have a division in Washington D.C. many years ago, but it got way too expensive and we couldn’t continue the fundraising for it. So at the end of the day, we want to expand. We will expand. We just want to make sure that as we’re expanding, we can do it in the right way so we don’t have to shut a city down once we’re there.”

 

ANTHONY MARTIN: “We also get students from the Delaware Valley, so it wouldn’t just be Philadelphia. We get students from as far as Washington D.C., Baltimore, New York City, Delaware, New Jersey, Charlottesville, Virginia – so they come from pretty much all over the place. But our ultimate goal is expansion, for sure.”

 

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