When deciding on an internship for this past summer, senior track and field athlete Lauryn Carlton said she didn’t want to make her passion for sports feel like a job, but wanted something in the industry — resulting in a partnership marketing internship with NASCAR.

“I like to watch football. I like to watch soccer in my leisure time. I didn't want those to become my job,” Carlton said. “I'm interested enough in motorsports that I would be engaged with it and  interested in the product, but it wouldn't become like it, my other passions wouldn't become my job.”

In the internship, Carlton said she helped manage the relationship between NASCAR and its official partners. Carlton said her most memorable assignment was putting together an information packet for the Chicago Street Race — the first street race in NASCAR history. 

“They said it was super helpful,” Carlton said. “I was super happy about it as it was the first ever street race in NASCAR history.”

Carlton’s throwing coach Laura Igaune said she was ecstatic to hear one of her athletes doing such an impressive internship.

“I think she has a very good work ethic. She's really, really good about it, trusting the process and just taking one step at a time and going in the right direction,” Igaune said. “I really enjoy seeing that. And I really support that because I feel like the more diverse areas, my student athletes are finding internships and jobs, the better Elon University looks for success after graduation.”

Igaune said she has known about Carlton’s great work ethic since recruiting her. She also said Carlton has grown into a great leader.

“When I recruited her in the senior year of high school, during the football season, she actually played football, she tore her ACL,” Igaune said. “She's just a really good kid. I love seeing her growth, I think she has left a mark and in her fifth year I think she is going to leave even more.” 

Carlton said she got her start in motorsports from watching it with her dad as a child. 

“I told my dad I got the internship, he was so ecstatic, he was like, ‘This is insane. I'm so excited for you,’” Carlton said. “And he was just so proud.”

Though she drifted away from motorsports in middle and high school, Carlton said she worked in partnership marketing for a grassroots racing team last summer, which she credits to getting this larger-scale internship.

“The bug got me after I did that internship last summer with this race team,” Carlton said. “I'm happy to be back into it, and it's just a really good time.”

Carlton said she saw the similarities between motorsports and track and field, namely how time-oriented the sports are. 

“You do this one little thing wrong, you might drop to last or not even finish the race. So similar in that way, small small margins of error, every little minute detail counts, every second counts,” Carlton said. “And the amount of focus that you have to have because you're kind of out there alone a little bit sometimes.”