• Loading stock data...
Saturday, March 2, 2024

The 3,000 Mile Dream

How one student chased his dream from Chino Hills to Charlotte.

September 3rd at Darlington’s Bojangles Southern 500 (Image via Twitter)

Many people in this world have a dream but do not know exactly how to articulate that dream into reality. In sports, seemingly more than in any field, dream jobs and satisfying careers are becoming harder to come by with increasing demand.

For UNC Charlotte undergrad Christian Espinoza, his entire college experience has been about cultivating those dreams into an attainable reality. Espinoza, 20, made the trip from Chino Hills, California in 2015 to North Carolina to pursue his NASCAR dream in media.

“Find what you love and pursue it relentlessly;” said Espinoza, “No one is going to get anywhere in this world without hard work and dedication.”

It all seems too true, especially when today’s employers want to see multiple internships and a broad understanding of the field before graduating college.

“Getting in is the hard part, but finding connections, once in, is a little easier.”

With many open doors in college, he claims there is no time to sit back. Involvement in any campus outlet is how one ought to begin their journey. Whether it’s pursuing media, business, or engineering, the key to success is getting your feet into the water.

Espinoza says being in Charlotte alone has provided many more opportunities.

“Growing up in Southern California hindered my efforts to get to multiple races in a season, so when I came out here to Charlotte, I knew I was going to have to take advantage of all the close racetracks.”

Charlotte also serves as the NASCAR headquarters.

Last year’s Fall Charlotte Playoff Xfinity race (Image via Twitter)

In 2016, Espinoza attended 23 of the 36 races as media for UNC Charlotte’s student media organization — all while remaining a full-time student balancing grades and a job. “Traveling to all these races has been a dream come true.”

One thing he harps on is not having to do everything in the industry on his own. Espinoza says he was blown away by the hospitality of other students, school and the positive reception from NASCAR’s professionals. Without the help of journalists Jim Utter and Chris Knight, Espinoza would not be NASCAR’s first ever full-time college media Hard Card holder. “They have [Jim Utter, Chris Knight] assisted me and offered countless advice throughout race weekends on what to do and what not to do. I’ve learned a lot from both of them and I’m very appreciative for all the friendships I’ve made,” he adds. “I’d be lying if I said this [obtaining a Hard Card] was a goal I had in mind for my college years.”

But in today’s climate, versatility is key — something Espinoza brings to the table.

As a longtime writer, he is now slowly branching out to different avenues in the sport — namely in public relations work with K&N Series driver Will Rodgers. Rodgers, another one of Espinoza’s newly acquired friends was in need of a representative, and he was the right choice. Most recently, Espinoza hit the track at Watkins Glen in July to handle sponsor representatives, social media and Rodgers’ publicity.

As a junior in PR classes, he believes it is a more sustainable career.

“Public relations stands out a little more to me in my potential future career choices, it’s been fun. I think by branching myself out into more than one spectrum, hopefully future employers will see more potential in me.”

Interning is also a great step to accustom yourself for real experience. Although Espinoza travels parts of the NASCAR circuit, that does not mean he engaged only in writing or PR. He was the fall 2016 social media intern at the iconic Charlotte Motor Speedway — just minutes from campus.

“I learned a lot about the other end of the media spectrum. Everything from Twitter to Instagram and fan engagement was involved.”

As with most sports today, but especially NASCAR, social media is a strong suit to engage the young audience — something NASCAR has made ground on.

None of the success in NASCAR, or any other career field can be done without motivation, however, if you ask Espinoza what the biggest motivating factor is, he will say the ones who doubt.

“Don’t listen to the naysayers. If you want something, it’s up to you to go get it. You’ve only got one shot on this Earth, make it worthwhile.”

Front Office Sports is a leading multi-platform publication and industry resource that covers the intersection of business and sports.

Want to learn more, or have a story featured about you or your organization? Contact us today.


Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace (23), in a Star Wars rebel alliance X-wing fighter pilot-inspired race suit, motions to the crowd to get louder during the driver introductions for the Cup Series Championship race at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale on Nov. 5, 2023.

Celebrity Owners, International Ambitions, and $7B Media Deals: Welcome to the New NASCAR

NASCAR boldly keeps pace with the increasingly competitive sports and entertainment world.

FOS With Ryan Blaney: NASCAR Champ Talks Netflix, Racing Changes

NASCAR’s 2023 champion chats with FOS ahead of the Daytona 500.

NASCAR Capitalizes on the Sportswear Boom in a New Deal With ’47

With the new partnership between ’47 and NASCAR, racing fans can express their love like never before.

Still No. 1. New WWE Partner Netflix Reaffirms Top-Dog Status

Streaming giant surpasses 260 million subscribers, beating Wall Street expectations.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Jenny Cavnar is Breaking Barriers During Oakland’s Strange Season


Featured Today

Sheer Madness: What You Need to Know About MLB’s New Uniform Saga

MLB’s reworked uniforms have become a major source of spring training controversy.
Oct 5, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, points to the lettering outside of the museum Tuesday.
February 28, 2024

How Do You Keep Negro Leagues Baseball History Alive? Put It in a Video Game

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum attracting increased donations, visits from ‘MLB The Show.’
February 26, 2024

The Victor Wembanyama Rookie Card Market Hasn’t Matched His Hype

A cooling market and Fanatics autograph deal leaves big-money collectors waiting.
February 25, 2024

Sham Gods: The Rapidly Growing World of Sports Impersonators on X

Fake Schefters and Wojs, fabricated trade demands, and borrowed profile pictures.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers

Temple Takes Your Sports Career to the Next Level

If you want to break through to the C-Suite , Temple University’s Executive Master of Science in Sport Business can help you up your game and accelerate your career. 

Networking With Purpose

Investing in the Ohio University PMSA unlocks access to one of the largest sports business alumni networks in the world.

University of San Francisco Is Your Ticket to the Game

Rated the No. 1 Sports Management program in California, USF has been a leader in educating industry professionals for more than 30 years.

How LivePass is Redefining Ticketing for the Next Generation of Fans

The next wave of ticketing technology.

UMass, McCormack Department of Sport Management Introduce Groundbreaking Women in Business Course

UMass’s Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management has announced the addition of a Women in Business course launching Spring 2021.

Sacred Heart University Gives Athletes and Students Hands-On Learning Opportunities

Professor Matthew F. Moran is training the industry’s next generation of exercise scientists at Sacred Heart University.

Ohio University PMSA Prepares Sports Professionals For New Normal

Two alumni of the Ohio University Professional Master of Sports Administration explain how they feel prepared for the future of sports.

Temple’s Sports Business Master’s Program Gives a Sports Media Pro Unique Perspective

Temple’s School of Sport, Tourism & Hospitality Management gave Sean Hanrahan the tools to elevate his career even after 30 years in the business.