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St. Mary CC grad makes racing pay off

Alissa Widman Neese • Jun 15, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Most days, they could find him holding a sopping mop and bucket at a small facility owned by ThorSport Racing, the Sandusky-based NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team.

Nic, then a St. Mary Central Catholic High School student, grew accustomed to meticulously cleaning the inside of the team's tractor-trailers and piles of grimy lug nuts. After all, he was hoping to someday catch his big break in the racing industry, and the only way to do it was with hard work.

"He probably cleaned about 2 million lug nuts for us," laughed David Pepper, ThorSport team manager. "But he came in here with the right attitude and he impressed us. You don't see that a lot nowadays."

The "grunt work," as Nic calls it, was hardly glamorous or fun.

But looking back, only one thing matters: It paid off.

After graduating from St. Mary Central Catholic High School in 2005, Nic obtained a degree in sports management and from Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, the hub of professional racing. Before he finished his degree, Nic already secured a job as a racing team's public relations director in 2008.

He was hired this spring as public relations director for Gallagher Motorsports. The team primarily races in the ARCA Racing Series, often described as a NASCAR minor league.

"Racing is just like one giant family and we all lean on each other," Nic said. "It's like the traveling circus. We go from town to town, meeting new people and bringing the entertainment to everyone."

Nic's daily tasks as public relations director include promoting racer Spencer Gallagher and his team, managing relationships with sponsors, crafting news releases, manning social media accounts and scheduling promotional appearances.

Although he's involved in the business side of racing, Nic isn't afraid to put his technical skills to use. While working for Coulter Motorsports, he also was the pit crew's front tire changer.

"It's a juggling act," Nic said. "I always knew I wanted to be on the business side of things, but I also wanted to make sure I was well-rounded."

Before Nic began his career, racing wasn't exactly a family sport. He became interested through a childhood friend who also enjoyed the excitement sparked by speed, skill and the smell of fresh gasoline.

Now Nic's parents, Dan and Mary, as well as his siblings Jacob and Ben, have taken interest in the sport. They live in Sandusky but frequently visit nearby race tracks, typically in Michigan or Kentucky, to cheer on Nic's teams.

"He's worked very hard and we're very proud," Dan said.

Succeeding in the competitive racing industry is tough, but entirely possible with hard work, perseverance, good timing and real-world experience, Nic said. He credits his accomplishments to Pepper and his on-site high school senior project with ThorSport Racing.

"We're competitors now, but it's friendly competition, because he's always helped me along the way," Nic said. "When people look at my resume and see ThorSport Racing, they know there's tons of great guys backing me. I'll always be rooted in Sandusky."

Follow @NicMoncher on Twitter to stay up-to-date on where he's headed next.

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