Jordan Anderson’s Innovative Reading, Writing and Racing

Author’s Note: I met Jordan Anderson a little over three years ago. In an era when many young men seem unsure of themselves and wander about with no career or education goals, it’s refreshing to see a young man with clear goals. It’s interesting to note also how NASCAR finds its drivers and future stars today now that the days of dirt lanes and bootleg liquor are long behind us.

In case you haven’t caught up with racer/student Jordan Anderson lately, you’ve got some catching up to do. But that’s not likely to happen on the racetrack where he has a habit of winning or finishing high. Nor is it likely to happen in a college classroom where he’s already established an educational innovation. This young man sets his sights high, and the college classroom is no exception.

Anderson is enrolled at Belmont Abbey College, in Gastonia, North Carolina. The school offers a curriculum of study that’s among the country’s most unique—the country’s only four-year Motorsports Management degrees.

How The Program Works

With its proximity to Charlotte, NASCAR’s epicenter, Belmont Abbey College is committed to developing students as future motorsports leaders. Students accepted into the program can earn a bachelor’s degree in Business Management with a concentration in Motorsports Management. The four-year, high-octane, degree specifically focuses on the racing industry’s business and management side and is one of the first of its kind in the country.

Motorsports Management students can officially declare as Business majors. Coursework includes a balanced mix of classroom study, internships, and industry volunteer opportunities. Formal acceptance into the Business major and Motorsports concentration is based upon academic performance during the freshmen year.

Academic performance has not been a problem for Anderson who made the Dean’s List his freshmen year. As a freshman, Anderson went a step farther. He presented a proposal to the college offering academic credit for interns working with his racing team. The college accredited Jordan Anderson Racing’s program, and as of the fall semester 2010, Anderson will have three interns in a collaborative effort that involves aspects of the motorsports industry.

Valuable Hands-On Experience

The interns will perform 120 hours of work for credit in a unique and innovative partnership where they make decisions that contribute to Jordan Anderson Racing’s success. This program lets interns begin building a solid resume. All benefit from the experience and the exposure to racing. Before they ever look for that all-important first position, they have experience.

Quinn Beekwilder, Daniel Kerber, and Jessica Morse will get valuable hands-on experience involving matters such as corporate sponsorship, public relations, promotions, and other vital business areas associated with the highly successful NASCAR model.

“As a sports management major at Belmont Abbey College, I am very excited to be working with Jordan and his team,” said Morse.” The motorsports program provides students a great volunteer and internship opportunities. Being a student and only a sophomore at the Abbey I feel I have a lot of great opportunity and open doors, working with Jordan being just one of them.”

It’s tributes like this that helped Belmont’s Abbey’s leadership in Motorsports Management catch the eye of the Wall Street Journal. In a piece fittingly titled, “Grease Monks, Racing Has A Haven in Belmont Abbey,” the journal examined how the college’s innovative program adds horsepower to its curriculum. The article in examining why the world needs such a specific area of study, got a clear-cut, definitive answer from Tracy Rishel, the Motorsports program instructor. “Sponsors are paying 15 million to 20 million a year at the top NASCAR level for top teams to put their name on the car. It’s worth nearly 6 billion to the North Carolina economy. Sponsors expect professionalism and worldly talented people to deal with.”

Despite a crowded schedule that includes a full academic load, along with handling all his sponsorship partners, Anderson continues to race a full schedule of Dirt Late Model races—a stepping-stone to NASCAR. If there’s such a thing as making all the right moves, Anderson is doing it.

Racing & Business Know-How

In March 2009, legendary promoter H.A. ‘Humpy’ Wheeler signed Anderson, saying Anderson has what it takes to make it to the Cup Series. A successful campaign of racing on dirt in 2009 validated Wheeler’s faith in Anderson.

Anderson enjoys success in the boardroom as well with long-term sponsors like his hometown, the City of Forest Acres in South Carolina and Dick Dyer Toyota. He has also amassed quite a racing record with more than 200 wins, five South Carolina State Championships, 2005 Semi-Pro Legends Nationals Championship, along with 2007 and 2008 Charlotte Motor Speedway Legends Car Pro Summer Shootout Series Championship.

In 2010, Anderson plans to run 30 to 35 races in the National Dirt Racing Association. Dirt tracks gave NASCAR its current superstars like Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, and Carl Edwards.

Head On Right

Reading, writing, and racing will present challenges, something Anderson thrives on. The young man has his head on right. In an age when way too many athletes bring bad images to their sport, Anderson knows what matters at the end of the day. Here’s betting that the Forest Acres native will excel on all fronts.

The City of Forest Acres, a longtime partner of Anderson, sees in him a native son with a bright future. Jordan makes three generations of Anderson’s who have called Forest Acres home and he brings a solid image to a place known for its wholesome lifestyle. Anderson, who’s bold in his faith, performs community service and spends important time with his parents, Clif and Sherry Anderson, and sister Jennifer.

Anderson acknowledges that his driving force is Biblical and refers to his life’s verse, 1 Timothy 1:12; “ I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to His service.”

College has a way of binding people for life. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Anderson and his interns together someday, a team racing at the highest level. That would be a coup for Belmont Abbey College. Having a NASCAR driver isn’t a bad way to earn your stripes as an institution of higher learning that offers a Motorsports program.

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Tom Poland

Tom Poland, A Southern Writer – Tom Poland is the author of twelve books and more than 1,000 magazine features. A Southern writer, his work has appeared in magazines throughout the South. Tom grew up in Lincoln County, Georgia, where four wonderful English teachers gave him a love for language. People first came to know Tom’s work in South Carolina Wildlife magazine, where he wrote features and served as managing editor.Tom’s written over 1,000 columns and features and seven traditionally published books. Among his recent books are Classic Carolina Road Trips From Columbia, Georgialina, A Southland, As We Knew It, and his and Robert Clark’s latest volume of Reflections of South Carolina. Swamp Gravy, Georgia’s Official Folk Life Drama, staged his play, Solid Ground in 2011 and 2012.He writes a weekly column for newspapers and journals in Georgia and South Carolina about the South, its people, traditions, lifestyle, and changing culture and speaks often to groups across South Carolina and Georgia.Tom earned a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Media at the University of Georgia. He lives in Columbia, South Carolina where he writes about Georgialina—his name for eastern Georgia and South Carolina. Visit my website at www.tompoland.net Email me at [email protected]