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Student takes a drive on the super speedway, internship of a lifetime


Trey Gomez, an English senior, was selected for the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program this past summer.

Racing through life one flag at a time, Trey Gomez always had a passion for the fast lane. When selected as an intern for NASCAR’s Diversity Internship Program, he buckled up and enjoyed the ride all the way to Daytona Beach, Florida, for a lifetime opportunity.
Gomez, an English senior, was introduced to the world of racing at the early age of four by watching races with his father and since has been a lifelong fan of NASCAR.
“I’ve been a lifelong fan of the sport like ever since I could walk basically,” Gomez said. “It’s always been something that I make time for on Sundays or Saturday nights or whenever there’s a race is on.”
It was during Thanksgiving break this past fall that he decided to go out on a limb and look for a possible future with the organization.
“I just got bored after finishing an assignment and I got curious, just randomly curious, like ‘what jobs are there in NASCAR?’” Gomez said. “Because up to that point, I never saw working in this space as something real achievable.”
After a search on Google, he had no idea the application process would be as extensive as it was, but after a grueling six months of interviews and essays, Gomez answered a phone call on his commute to school that would change his summer plans.
“I was walking uphill and then I randomly get a phone call from Daytona Beach, Florida. I’m like ‘crap like this is it and it’s from Diversity and Inclusion. They’re like ‘hey, Trey, happy to announce we got a spot open for you in the Daytona offices. Congratulations.’ I was like super elated. Not only did it, change my day, it changed the course of my summer.” Gomez said.
Once processing his own emotions he felt obligated to share this exciting news with the person who introduced him to this sporting world in the first place — his father.
“I called my dad who is responsible for getting me into the sport more than anyone. I can remember watching my first race with him when I was like four years old, he was elated for me, so that was really, really cool,” Gomez said. “Then, of course, I called my mom, but my dad was the first one who I felt deserved for that initial phone call.”
The NASCAR Diversity Internship Program launched in 2000 and is a ten-week paid internship where interns are spread into different positions based on majors and interests.
Julia Tarlaian, who oversees the internship program said the program’s main goal is to expand the demographic of NASCAR and make the sport accessible to a wide audience.
“It started from the heart of NASCAR, they wanted to go ahead and expand and grow into different demographics, especially with our younger students in college, undergrad students and graduate students,” Tarlaian said. “NASCAR is not a sport that’s easy to follow, you can’t just go to Toys R Us and pick it up like football. We want people to know we are a sports team that welcomes all walks of life.”
Tarlaian, who prescreens applicants and gauges their skill set, said the passion that Gomez has for the sport poured through the screen.
“He was one of the few who was very well versed in NASCAR, so his passion just was very radiant. He told me who his favorite driver is and was very excited,” Tarlaian said. “He also told me about his skill set within the marketing department and that’s why he was placed with the communications department this year.”
Over the summer working as a communications intern, Gomez’s responsibilities included updating weekly news and articles on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, creating individual driver biography webpages for notable past champions and inactive drivers and other tasks that gave him a hands-on internship experience.
“I’m not only doing stuff to contribute to the company in itself, but I’m doing the important stuff,” Gomez said. “I’m not just an intern who’s getting coffee or going to the copy machine, I’m doing legitimate work that you can see, and that was really cool.”
Besides contributing to the community he is passionate about, Gomez was also able to experience some perks about being a NASCAR intern like seeing and meeting his favorite driver, Corey Lajoie, race.
“I was at that Atlanta race and he was leading laps, I haven’t experienced that at the track since Dale Jr. days 10 some odd years ago,” Gomez said. “I was able to get myself at his pit box, and watching the race with his team for the last 10 laps. I got to speak to his crew chief Ryan Sparks after the race, and then walking in the garage actually got to meet Corey himself, just in passing.”
Gomez started his senior year this fall and hopes to be back at NASCAR once he has graduated.
Bill Poston, a lecturer in the Honor’s College who taught Gomez last fall in a class called Extraordinary Leadership: Ownership and Influence, also notices the passion that Gomez has for what he loves.
“I think he is a prototype of what I consider to be the Texas State student, he is incredibly bright, hardworking, enthusiastic and yet humble,” Poston said. “When I think about the characteristics that define your typical Texas State student I think he embodies all of those.”
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story misspelled the names of Corey Lajoie and Ryan Sparks. They have since been corrected. We sincerely apologize for these mistakes.

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  • Trey Gomez (top row, far right) was one of the 36 interns selected for the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program.

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