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Chris Hecht moves from race track to job at top NASCAR track

Somerset native Chris Hecht is working in the communications department at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. This is considered one of the most prominent NASCAR race tracks in the nation

A Somerset native has secured a job at one of the top NASCAR race tracks in the country.

Chris Hecht, 26, was hired in May to work in the communications department of the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. This particular speedway is "the hub of the NASCAR auto racing community and is the home track for 95 percent of all race car drivers," Hecht explained.

The grandson and nephew of the former owners and founders of Cedar Lake Speedway, Hecht said he has always been fascinated with auto racing. The allure was first felt when Hecht visited the family-owned dirt track for the first time when he was just 3-years-old, he said.

The speedway, which nurtured Hecht's passion for auto racing, and dirt track racing in particular, was built in 1957 and remained in the family until it was sold in 2001. One of his dreams is to buy back the speedway, which was sold to the current owners for around $3 million, he said.

Hecht's involvement in the auto racing industry is diverse, especially now that he is writing press releases, race recaps and interviewing professional drivers at Charlotte Speedway.

Before he was working behind the scenes for a nationally acclaimed speedway, he was behind the wheel.

After Hecht graduated from high school in 2003, he raced for three years but said that money, or the lack there of, was the reason he "gave up the dream" and decided to enroll in college. In order to race competitively one has to have several sponsors and a lot of capital, he said.

As a way to keep the goal of working in the race car industry alive, Hecht enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and majored in marketing communications. Hecht said he was reassured that he could still be involved in racing, just in a different capacity.

"I moved from the race track into the office," he said.

Within two weeks of graduating from college, Hecht was moved into an apartment six miles from Charlotte Motor Speedway.

During his first week on the job, Hecht was working during one of the biggest races of the year: the Coca-Cola 600.

Moving more than 1,000 miles away was something he had to adjust to but Hecht said he likes living in the state where auto racing was recently designated the official state sport.

Repetitive or redundant are not ways in which Hecht describes his new job; it is quite the contrary.

"On any given day, I don't know what I will be doing," he said.

Whether he is playing seven hours of golf during a company tournament or talking nonchalantly with the owner of Papa John's Pizza, Hecht said he is happy working there and loves driving to his job every day.

Soon, Hecht said he will be moving into the events department at the Speedway and said he hopes to eventually manage the dirt track.

Hecht's passion and genuine interest in a sport where the high speeds, sounds and smells are exhilarating to him are why he said he has found his "dream job" and has reached his goal of working for NASCAR.