Georgia Southern in the Fastlane

Whether it’s behind the scenes or on the track, Georgia Southern students and alumni love the world of racing. What draws them to this fast-paced career path? We found a few people to talk about their need for speed.

Jordan Feider

DIRT TRACK RACER AND NURSING STUDENT

“I was raised in the racing world”

Jordan Feider was the first female racer in history from her division to win at Savannah’s Oglethorpe Speedway Park. Racing is in her blood.

“I was raised in the racing world,” said the senior nursing student and dirt track racer who races under the name “Dirt Angel.” “As a baby I was at the track from the time I was three months old. I’m actually a third-generation female racer.”

“Dirt Angel” is an appropriate name for Feider as she drives a car wrapped in a decal that reads “Glory 2 God.”

“My grandmother and I started it a few years ago, because you don’t see the Christian view that much in the racing world, and that’s important to me.”

And it was the family tradition of participating in the church’s mission trips that first piqued her interest in nursing.

“One of the biggest things I love to do is travel on medical mission trips to Haiti with my grandmother and aunt. That’s what truly made me realize that I wanted to be a nurse.”

And studying nursing at the Armstrong Campus has been a family tradition, too.

“I have a lot of family, like my aunt, that went there for nursing. And when I looked into it, we have one of the best nursing programs around.”

Feider often races against her fiancé, Brandon Yawn, in the late model division, the highest level in dirt track racing. The two became engaged last December.

“So you know, I want to win and he wants to win. But I don’t want to wreck him to win. But things happen. We’ve gotten into it a few times on the track. But it keeps things interesting off the racetrack,” said Feider with a laugh.

Crashing is sometimes par for the course. Feider was running second at a race last year when she was clipped by another racer, put into the wall and totaled the car. But, surprisingly, she is okay with it.

“We’ve already got two more cars that we had built from the bottom up,” said Feider. “That’s car racing. Everybody beats and bangs on each other. It’s a very aggressive sport.”

Feider says juggling racing and her nursing studies has been a lesson learned in time management.

“It was a challenge for me at first. But school’s my priority, so racing had to slow down a little bit. I went from running 40 to 50 races a year to about 20 to 30. I focus on my studies because nursing’s the career that I’ll be doing for the rest of my life.”

Graduating in December, she plans to take a year to get some nursing field experience, but will still race on weekends. Then she wants to return to earn her master’s degree and become a nurse practitioner.

For the future racing nurse, Feider has a bright outlook. “It’s been very, very busy, but very, very fun so far.”

– Liz Walker


Brandon Hutchison (’95)

ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY GENERAL MANAGER

“I want to run the speedway one day”

“My senior year it was a Georgia Southern requirement to get an internship. So I got an internship at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and never looked back,” said Brandon Hutchison, the communication arts alumnus and executive vice president and general manager of Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Hutchison obviously likes his job. He’s been there 24 years and the speedway has been his only employer. His internship started in the public relations department, but Hutchison was actually hired in the events department. He worked in every facet of the speedway and finally progressed to become the general manager.

“Now I’m blessed to be in charge of the speedway,” he said. “When I started my internship, I made up my mind, literally within the first two weeks of working here, that this was something I wanted to do. When I was done with my internship, I actually told the president and general manager, Ed Clark, that I wanted to run the speedway one day.”

An Atlanta native, Hutchison was drawn to Georgia Southern because it was close to home and he liked the look and the feel of the campus setting. As a student, Hutchison worked part time at a local convenience store, spent most of his time studying, and used his free time making friends and exploring the area.

Greatest Accomplishment

Hutchison thinks his greatest accomplishment is his family. But second to that, is his job as general manager of Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“You know, as a 22-year-old Georgia Southern intern, it was a mighty long shot for me to run a speedway. If you think about it, there are only 23 NASCAR Cup Series sanctioned tracks. I think it’s a tremendous accomplishment for me to set that goal 24 years ago, and now to be the general manager of Atlanta Motor Speedway.”

Hutchison emphatically added this homage to his alma mater.

“I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt, I have this job because of my time spent at Georgia Southern.”

– Liz Walker


Nichole Krieger (’94)

NASCAR FOUNDATION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

“[We are] able to leave an impact behind”

“NASCAR races 38 weeks a year, and we look for opportunities to partner with groups in our local race communities to enhance the medical care, health care and lifestyle needs for kids,” said Nichole Krieger, executive director of The NASCAR Foundation, the charitable arm of NASCAR.

As a business marketing major at Georgia Southern, the Atlanta area native kept busy with school work, waiting tables at the former Archibald’s in Statesboro, and as fundraising chair of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. It was the experience of sorority fundraising and its mission of giving back to others, combined with her business studies that led Krieger to the nonprofit world.

“When I got out of college I moved to Washington, D.C., and I started working for Paralyzed Veterans of America,” said Krieger. “It was kind of like running your own business, but paired up with the desire to help others.”

Working for Nonprofits Led to NASCAR

Krieger worked for Paralyzed Veterans of America for almost 17 years, and while there she met her husband, Andy. She also met NASCAR.

Paralyzed Veterans was supported by a number of NASCAR drivers including Richard Petty, Martin Truex and the Penske organization. From then on, Krieger was bitten by the NASCAR bug, and jumped at the chance to work for The NASCAR Foundation. She’s been with them for six years and executive director the last two.

Krieger is a big fan of the Daytona-based sport, watching racing every weekend and being actively involved with NASCAR.

“The fact that we can help children in our racing communities is really what makes my job so great. So when we roll on to the next city, The NASCAR Foundation is able to leave an impact behind. That’s what I think is so important about what we do.”

Krieger feels the lessons learned at Georgia Southern have helped her throughout her career.

“I think the experiences at school definitely prepared me for this. Maybe you don’t always know it’s preparing you for what lies ahead. But I think being able to take what I learned in school and give back to the race communities is probably something that I’m most proud of.“

But Krieger is proud of Georgia Southern too.

“I love it when people say, ‘Georgia Southern, I know where that is’. I’m certainly proud of being a Georgia Southern Eagle.”

– Liz Walker


Mike Davis (’01)

DALE EARNHARDT JR. MANAGING DIRECTOR

“Give Me That Chance”

Georgia Southern alumnus Mike Davis became involved with NASCAR by agreeing to do a job no one else wanted. The journalism graduate worked in public relations for a driver who was notoriously difficult. He parlayed that job into an opportunity to work with Dale Earnhardt Jr., who later offered him a similar position at his own company, JR Motorsports.

Working at JR Motorsports since 2007, Davis oversees Earnhardt’s brand and co- founded the production company Dirty Mo Media with Earnhardt as a way to feed content to fans. Earnhardt retired from full-time racing in 2017.

Five years ago, Davis started and co-hosted a podcast called the “Dale Jr. Download,” a recap of Earnhardt’s races. While the “Download” is just one of several projects produced by Dirty Mo Media, it’s the one that got NBC’s attention, where Earnhardt is a NASCAR color commentator.

“With NBC’s involvement, we took ‘the Download’ to another level,” Davis said. Earnhardt’s and Davis’ television show airs each Tuesday evening on NBC Sports Network. They’ve also released a short film chronicling Earnhardt’s return to NASCAR for a one-off race last October.

The Dale Earnhardt Jr. Brand

Davis also oversees Earnhardt’s brand, which includes working with sponsors and influencing the brand’s portrayal through media engagements.

“Where, when and how you see Earnhardt all sort of falls into my lap,” Davis said. “This includes media partnerships, business entities and various projects, including his recent New York Times best-selling book Racing to the Finish.”

Davis credits Georgia Southern with giving him the experience in public relations, marketing and brand management that has been so useful in his career. He also added that he sent out the resume that got him his first NASCAR job from his old student office in Hanner Fieldhouse, where sports information was located at the time.

Davis, who speaks to communication and journalism students at universities around the country, said they often ask him how they can get to his level of success in NASCAR. Davis said he tells them to volunteer and take jobs that others don’t want, like he did.

“I was willing to do anything,” he said. “I told them to give me that chance.” Obviously they did.

– Kyle Dawson

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