UNOH Students Provide Social Media Support for NASCAR Driver

Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2022


Ryan Ellis' Number 44 Car at Michigan International Speedway

Students Colin Tabler and Evan Blackshear-Trvdy help to create social awareness for autism on the No. 44 Keen Parts Chevrolet at MIS.

Written by Contributing Columnist Professor Tom Legeman

UNOH students and American Marketing Association (AMA) members Colin Tabler and Evan Blackshear-Trvdy provided social media support for NASCAR Xfinity driver Ryan Ellis during the August 6th New Holland 250 at Michigan International Speedway.

Ellis, who drives the No. 44 Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, was racing a car at MIS designed by Bennett Thornburn, son of former St. Louis Blues defenseman and Stanley Cup Champion Chris Thornburn.

Bennett, who is autistic, had learned to count by using toy cars as numbers. Ellis came up with the idea for Bennett to design the No. 44 car.

“When Chris said he and his family were able to come to the race, I thought it would be cool to have Bennett design the car,” said Ryan Ellis, driver of the No. 44 Keen Parts Chevrolet. “Chris and Sara (Thornburn) were open to Bennett designing the car. The whole family, including Bennett’s sister Mary and brother Oscar all participated in the design.”

The theme for the car was, “Be a Friend to Autism Awareness.”

Ellis reached out to AMA advisor Tom Legeman to see if UNOH had students who would like to provide social media support at MIS.

UNOH students Colin Tabler and Evan Blackshear-Trvdy supported Ellis by interacting with the Thornburn family at the track, inside the garage area, and inside the MIS Media Center.

“This was a wonderful opportunity to learn from experts not only in my field of digital marketing, but in the field of motorsports marketing,” said UNOH student Colin Tabler. “I am truly grateful for the opportunity to work with Ryan Ellis and the Thornburn family, and to contribute to their message of autism awareness through their son Bennett.”

“This was one the coolest experiences I’ve ever had,” said UNOH student Evan Blackshear-Trvdy. “I never considered motorsports as a career option but after this experience, I’m giving this some more thought.”

“Colin and Evan did a great job for us and I’m so fortunate to have them work with us,” said Ellis. “They captured the exact moment and emotion of our car reveal to the Thornburn family. I can’t thank them enough and really hope to work with them again.”

Dean Tim Fitzpatrick was also in attendance, and was able to witness what happens behind the scenes at a major NASCAR event.

“I was intrigued walking behind the scenes at MIS,” said Fitzpatrick. “The production effort that go into running an event is amazing. The teams, the track, the fanbase all work together to make a race happen.”

“To have UNOH students Colin Tabler and Evan Blackshear-Trvdy support Ryan Ellis and his autism awareness car demonstrates the opportunities available to our students to use these events as a resource for learning.”

For more information about the Motorsports Marketing program, visit the Program Page.

Category: Applied Technologies, Campus & Community, Business, Health, and Occupational Professions

Keywords: Michigan International Speedway, American Marketing Association, Motorsports Marketing

Press Contact

UNOH Public Relations

Last updated: 09/01/2022