JOURNALISM220 FINAL PROJECT
Liberty University Sponsors Student’s NASCAR Career
By: Hannah Peters
Rare among many universities, Liberty University sponsors a few of the student’s NASCAR careers.
Beginning in 2007, Jerry Fawell Sr., founder of Liberty University supported student, Stephen Berry’s NASCAR dream. Liberty’s support to Berry and his team’s career was crucial. An estimated $150,000 per year is required for a competitive team’s stock car support. For six years, Liberty was able to support Stephen Berry with a large portion of money to make his dream successful. Berry’s Liberty funded racecar is embellished and adorned with the University’s logo. The Chevrolet race car #82 is in fact, an advertisement for Liberty and allows publicity for the University.
Following Liberty’s lead in sponsoring Stephen Berry, several other universities such as Clemson University, began funding NASCAR-focused programs for their students.
“Liberty has sponsored me for six years, I have been very blessed and fortunate to have the University do that for me. We wouldn’t have been able to have a race team without Liberty. They got great exposure from it across the country, and I got great exposure from my driving career,” Stephen Berry said.
Stephen Berry started his career in profession go-karts at age 14, which go about 80 mph on dirt. During his go-kart racing he won the Virginia State Championship. Following, Berry moved up to race a half-scale sized stock car. Stephen exceeded the expectations of half-scale stock car racing, thus, he began to compete in the NASCAR All American series. Liberty then sponsored Berry’s racing for six years along with a full tuition scholarship and degree in business.
The support from Liberty University opened the doors for Berry’s success. Throughout the time Liberty sponsored Berry’s NASCAR career, he was able to accomplish the following:
- Competed in an invitational NASCAR All-Star Showdown in Irwindale Speedway California
- Holds 36 wins, 42 poles, 52 Top Five finalists spots
- NASCAR Rookie of The Year in 2007
- Holds track record at Southern National Speedway in Kenly, North Carolina
The Liberty University fund for student NASCAR drivers has become tradition. Beginning in 2014, Liberty sponsored NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion driver, William Byron. The 18-year-old, Byron, has received both a sponsorship and plans to pursue a business de
gree from Liberty.
“William Byron (is) a young man who possesses the skills and values of a champion, not only on the racetrack, but personally and professionally as well. William, like so many of Liberty’s students, applied the skills he developed and refined through virtual education technologies to achieve practical success,” Liberty President Jerry Falwell said.
At the young age of 18-years-old, William Bryon has achieved many accomplishments that include the following:
- Turned Pro in Legends in January 2014
- Won the Charlotte Winter Heat U.S. Pro championship
- Crowned the Pro Legend champion at Winter Nationals in Florida
- Competed in 69 Legend races across the U.S. in 2013
- Registered 59 top five and 64 top 10 finishes
- Captured the 2013 U.S. Legend Young Lions National championship
For many individuals, juggling a NASCAR career and balancing schoolwork does not come naturally. Byron explained that he must work around his racing schedule. Sometimes that means sacrificing time with friends and family and getting homework done early in the week or late after races.
Along with the funds Liberty is supporting Byron with, Liberty is also aiding the racecar driver with a business degree.
“Most drivers don’t pursue a degree, or have a back-up plan to fall back on if their dreams turn to dust. With the business degree, I will not only have a back-up plan, but will gain an understanding of the marketing and sponsor side of the sport,” William Byron said.
Print Story word count: 602
Meet Stephen Berry #82
Liberty University’s Alumni and NASCAR driver: Stephen Berry
Students’ NASCAR Career Sponsored by Liberty University
By: Hannah Peters
Liberty University is building a tradition among sponsoring both students and NASCAR drivers. Within the previous eight years, founder Jerry Falwell Sr. and chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. have paved the way for two student’s NASCAR driving careers.
Beginning in 2007, business major Stephen Berry graciously received both a full tuition scholarship and sponsorship from Liberty University. On the tail end of his #82 Chevrolet full-scale stock car, Liberty University’s logo is found. Berry’s Liberty funded racecar is an advertisement and publicity catcher for the University.
“Liberty has sponsored me for six years, I have been very blessed and fortunate to have the University do that for me. We wouldn’t have been able to have a race team without Liberty,” Stephen Berry said.
Throughout Berry’s Liberty University sponsored NASCAR career, he was able to achieve many nationally ranked accomplishments. Stephen Berry has competed in an invitational NASCAR All-Star Showdown, received NASCAR Rookie of The Year in 2007 and also holds the track record at Southern National Speedway in Kenly, North Carolina.
Beginning in 2014 Liberty University has carried on its new founded tradition by sponsoring another student’s NASCAR career. Currently, 18-year-old William Byron of Charlotte, North Carolina, holds the University’s sponsorship for his full-scale stock car.
While racing full-time, William Byron also jumpstarted his college education, Byron is dual-enrolled in Liberty University Online Academy. Byron is currently pursuing a degree in business and marketing where he plans to learn and understand the sponsor side of NASCAR.
Dual-enrollment, traveling, full-time racing, and being an 18-year-old can be stressful and overwhelming; however, Byron prioritizes his school work by sacrificing time with friends and instead accomplishing homework early in the week or late after races.
William Byron is, “a young man who possesses the skills and values of a champion, not only on the racetrack, but personally and professionally as well,” quoted by President Jerry Falwell Jr.
Similar to Stephen Berry, Byron has achieved many accomplishments and awards with the help of Liberty’s sponsorship. William Byron is NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East Champion driver. He also turned Pro in Legends in January 2014, won the Charlotte Winter Heat U.S. Pro championship, was crowned the Pro Legend champion at Winter Nationals in Florida and captured the 2013 U.S. Legend Young Lions National championship.
Web Story word count: 378
NASCAR Driver Receives Financial Support from Liberty University
By: Hannah Peters
A Newfound Tradition
Liberty University has paved the way for two student/s NASCAR dream career// Students Stephen Berry and William Byron have received support from Liberty// This newfound tradition of sponsorship has allowed both Berry and Byron to succeed in racing while earning countless awards/ titles and trophies///
Liberty began this tradition back in 2007/ where Stephen Berry first accepted a full tuition scholarship and sponsorship from the University// Berry/s racecar was funded by Liberty for six years// Today/ Liberty now supports 18/year/old/ William Byron/s NASCAR career and aids in completing his of a business degree///
Broadcast Story word count: 93
*Photo credit of Motor Mile Speedway, Facebook and photographer, Roger C Brehm. Video filming and editing of “Meet Stephen Berry #82” were compiled solely from my own doing. All parts of the Broadcast video were also done by myself.*