Cookout Southern 500 track

From classroom to pit road: Coastal Carolina University students get rare inside look at the 2023 Cook Out Southern 500

Environment | September 13, 2023

Twenty-five Coastal Carolina University Recreation and Sport Management students will have a unique opportunity to experience NASCAR up close and personal at the 2023 Cook Out Southern 500.

The nationally televised NASCAR Cup Series race is set for Sunday, Sept. 3, at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C.

Jacqueline Hague, recreation and sport management teaching associate and “Professor of NASCAR,” will lead students through key race day events, including the driver’s meeting, pit road preparations, a garage tour, and driver introductions. Students will also learn about Darlington Raceway’s unique history, merchandising and marketing sponsors, and race logistics.

The trip to Darlington Raceway is part of Hague’s Sport Marketing and Sport Media Communication class, and is open to all recreation and sport management majors.

“We are guests of NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Pete Jung,” Hague explained. “My goal is to expose the sport and all [of] the possible job opportunities in the sport for the RSM majors attending. Once again, NASCAR is the only sport that allows fans and students true visibility to their ‘locker room’ and ‘strategy’ sessions through the pit and garage experience. I hope it allows the students to ‘live’ a sport from start to finish, in addition to meeting key people who lead the sport.”

Hague brings years of NASCAR experience to Coastal Carolina University, serving in a multitude of roles, including the founding of the MARS® sponsorship of NASCAR with the Skittles® car and Derrick Cope. Hague was also involved in the design and management of promotional cars and NASCAR retail promotions on the M&M’s® brand team, and taught The Business of NASCAR at the University of South Carolina. Hague is also known as the #officialprofessorofNASCAR.

“Experiential learning allows for the engagement of all the senses,” Hague said when asked why this experience is important to students. “It generates a buzz within the student to see and feel the career opportunities they are seeking. My goal is always to help students get jobs when they graduate. Experiences like this show the benefits of networking and provide new perspectives for each student.”

The recreation and sport management program is a part of Coastal Carolina University’s Conway Medical Center College of Health and Human Performance. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in recreation and sport management gain opportunities to study, analyze, evaluate, and successfully lead within the dynamic fields of recreation and sport.

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