A career in the big leagues of NASCAR may seem like a dream for many who would like to be involved in the sport. After all, what could be better than rubbing shoulders in the garage area with the likes of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, or Kasey Kahne on a weekly basis?
In reality, it's not easy to gain entry to the industry. It's not impossible, though, for those who have something to bring to the table through skills that catch the eye of a team owner such as Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress, or Jack Roush.
Getting a foot in the NASCAR door can often hinge on a particular item the individual needs to get started-a good rsum.
Rsum development has become somewhat of a niche market in the racing industry, as several people have developed businesses focused on driver and employee marketing packages. These companies provide help in getting that perfect rsum on paper and in the right hands.
Bob Dillner, a pit reporter for Speed Channel, was one of the first to see an opportunity to help market young drivers when he founded Speed51.com/51 Designs several years ago. Speed51.com is a short track Web site, and Dillner, the company founder and editor, developed 51 Designs as a driver marketing company. The company helps market young drivers through maintenance of their Web sites, development of press releases and autograph cards, and through development of marketing packages.
"What we try to do," says Dillner, "is take my background and what I've learned over the years-as well as all the people who work in the Speed 51 family-and try to utilize that to put out proper release when it's appropriate for young aspiring racers who are doing well but not getting the recognition they deserve.
"It's not all about hiring a company like ours because it's hard to promote somebody who's running 16th every week. This company is all about being an enhancement to what the drivers are doing on the track as well as how they present themselves."
Dillner offers simple advice for producing an effective rsum.
"You need to know what to put on the rsum and what not to," he says. "We look at each of our drivers on an individual basis and try to exploit what is good about that particular driver. It may not be just something good the driver has done on the track. It could be off-track stuff like being an engineer or [doing] charity work. When we do a rsum we really try to look at the driver. We try to put the best things first that would catch the eye of somebody like Bobby Hutchens [of Richard Childress Racing], and we try to think about what he would want to know about the individual he's looking at."
Hutchens, a longtime employee of RCR who serves as vice president of competition, has literally hundreds of rsums cross his desk each year at the team's Welcome, North Carolina, headquarters. He receives them from drivers and shop personnel, and basically anyone interested in getting a foot in the door.
"There are a lot of people who want to drive a race car and go Nextel Cup Series racing, so we get a lot of rsums all the time," Hutchens says. "There are good rsums and bad ones as far as their presentation. If you don't know the driver or haven't seen them race before, their rsums are all you have to base an opinion because it's a reflection of who they are. From my perspective, I've gotten a few rsums [and said,] 'Wow, this driver has really accomplished some good things.'
"We need to know that the individual has [his or her] head on straight and feet on the ground. Another thing we look for is education level because you've got to have a college education to drive or work on these cars from an engineering standpoint. A good education is definitely a plus on a rsum."