The Rod Campbell Award, only in its second year, is already an honor deemed extremely instrumental in securing a career in motorsports. The apprenticeship program, founded in 2021 to honor the late Rod Campbell, is designed to create an assisted path for those interested in pursuing a career in motorsports. As harsh as the industry can be, this award allows the recipient to enter the field of motorsports with knowledgeable guidance of influential, seasoned professionals who want to see the younger generation succeed in the motorsports world.
This year’s recipient is AJ Abate. AJ is currently in his first year of law school at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC, continuing his full-time studies and working part-time on the side as he realizes his life-long dream of a career in the motorsports industry. As a part of his apprenticeship, AJ will be on-site supporting various marketing and media efforts at NTT INDYCAR Series races throughout this summer, working closely with teams and drivers earning hands-on, one-of-a-kind motorsports career experience.
“I’m most passionate about growing the fan base of motorsports and introducing the younger generations to the sport as they will be the ones carrying on the legacy,” said Abate. “This program provides unmatched and invaluable exposure to the industry and grants an education in the sport that I need to launch my career. I do not come from a racing family or background which means I have so much to learn, however I could not be more excited to get started.”
Campbell, who died in March of 2020, left behind a legacy that will be difficult to rival. Not only the success that he achieved personally, but the large number of people that he mentored and launched into their own orbits of business success. A founding group of Sean Jones (7R Events, Bryan Herta Autosport, Steinbrenner Racing), Townsend Bell (NBC Sports, Short Shoot TV), Jeff Swoboda (BHA, Luftgekuhlt, Short Shoot), Jason Campbell (Canadian International Auto Show), David Scheinberg (Campbell Marketing & Communications), Steve Madincea (Fantastec), Chris Lencheski (Phoenicia Sport) and Paul Pfanner (Racer Media & Marketing) hope to continue Rod’s legacy for years to come with this award.