My story is different, much different.
Unlike most of the ridiculously talented women working in motorsports, racing isn’t in my blood. Not even a little bit. I wasn’t born into a racing family, growing up I never longed to be at a race track, and I didn’t instantly fall in love with fast cars. To be completely honest with you, until 2013 my motorsports knowledge ran about as deep as the Snake Pit where, much to my mother’s dismay, I had coincidentally celebrated my 21stbirthday.
No, motorsports didn’t become a major part of my life until after I’d gone to college and unsuccessfully tried to convince myself that a normal 9-5 desk job was the right thing for me.
I grew up in a small Indiana town about an hour north of Indianapolis and while I was fully aware that I was going to need to venture away from my roots to make that next step in my life, I couldn’t bring myself to go too far from my family, so I decided to attend Butler University and study Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations. It was a quick 45-minute drive home, but it was still ‘big city’ enough to feel like I was making moves towards bigger things.
After reading the pamphlet that briefly detailed all of the college majors that I could choose from, my 17-year old self (who knew ABSOLUTELY nothing about public relations) decided that PR was my story and I was sticking to it. I had a passion for connecting and communicating with people and a strong distaste for monotony and routine – that’s fancy PR speak for ‘unable to sit still for too long’ and a ‘passion for talking a lot’ and based on what the pamphlet said – it all matched up perfectly. In my eyes, a career path in PR was created with Lynzy Stover specifically in mind.
So, I spent the next four years of college interning with PR departments around the city and buying absurd amounts of coffee for PR professionals from all types of organizations as I picked their brain and begged them to remember me if a job ever opened up. All of that networking paid off and I was lucky enough to get a job with a PR agency in downtown Indianapolis right after I graduated and after a year of working there I came to the conclusion that agency life was just not for me at that time in my life. Having a far-too-early mid-life crisis at 22, I started to panic while I mapped out where my career should go next. Thankfully for me one of my agency coworkers, who had a strong connection to motorsports, asked me one day if I’d ever thought about working in racing. My answer, which is kind of embarrassing and offensive now, was basically ‘no’ and that ‘I didn’t even realize that anyone outside of drivers made careers out of racing’ (like I said earlier, racing…not in my blood).
After he’d shaken the look of shock off his face, he told me he wanted me to meet his wife who was currently working with a well-known NASCAR driver, but who also had a strong background in INDYCAR. Long story short, we met, I loved it, and they both helped me get a job working for the Verizon IndyCar Series. It was there that I was able to meet and network with some of the INDYCAR teams and ultimately get my first PR job in motorsports at Chip Ganassi Racing as a PR Representative. I spent four seasons there learning everything I possibly could until I made the move this past season to new INDYCAR team Carlin, serving as their PR and Marketing Manager.
Coming from a well-oiled INDYCAR machine like Chip Ganassi Racing to a new INDYCAR team like Carlin, who had loads of experience across the pond but nothing in INDYCAR has been equal parts thrilling, terrifying, rewarding, and challenging, but most of all it’s been the best possible thing that could’ve ever happened to me in my career. I’ve been given the freedom to help shape a communications program for a new INDYCAR team and to really put my stamp on it, which has been one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Now if you’re wondering what exactly a PR professional in motorsports does, I can honestly say that the job description is a moving target and most likely you’ll never have one day that is the same as the one before.
Some days I’m a writer. Some days a photographer. Others a salesperson. A strategist. A social media pro. A peacekeeper. A travel agent. A friend. A negotiator. A chauffeur. A therapist. A listener. A talker. A tour guide. And the list goes on and on. The only thing that stays constant in my world is that absolutely nothing is ever constant and I can’t imagine it being any other way.
My relationship with motorsports will always be a work in progress, mostly because it didn’t start as a passion for me. The sight of a race track doesn’t always make my heart flutter and I don’t always get butterflies when I hear an engine fire up, but I’ve found that my love for this exciting, chaotic world of racing runs much deeper than those things. I’ve fallen in love with the people.
The fans who wait in line for hours just to get 10 seconds of face time with their favorite driver in 95-degree heat. The drivers who try to make my job as difficult as possible some days, but who have a level of passion for what they do that is absolutely remarkable and unprecedented. The media who cover this crazy sport and who I work tirelessly to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with. The mechanics and engineers who put in more hours than I imagine is legally allowed just for the chance to watch their driver cross the finish line first. These people are family now.
So if you’re reading this and have decided that motorsports seems like a path that you’d really like to go down, but you’re worried that you don’t have the background or the knowledge or the connections or the raw passion – I’m here to tell you that while all of those things are wonderful and great, they aren’t absolutely necessary to making your mark on this crazy world of fast cars. I’m also here to warn you though that if you do make the jump, you might just fall head over heels for the crazy traveling circus that is racing.