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Liberty News

Employees thrive in fast lane at Liberty Driving Experience

May 26, 2016 : Liberty University News Service

Speed Street Promotions and a dozen custom-painted Nissans from the Mabry Automotive Group — eight 370Zs and four Altimas featuring logos for Liberty University, LFSN, and The Journey FM — helped put a few hundred Liberty employees on the fast track May 23-27.

Faculty and staff tested their mettle on a campus parking lot converted into a makeshift racecourse and dragstrip in the first weeklong, on-campus “Liberty Driving Experience.” A second is scheduled for June 13-17.

"Speed Street Promotions has done an excellent job with this event,” said Ron Kennedy, executive vice president for marketing at Liberty. "As a lead sponsor of this program, we’ve had an extremely positive response from our employees. I highly recommend Speed Street for any company that is looking for a fun, team-building experience for their staff.”

(Interested businesses can learn more at speedstreetpromo.com.)

Stacy Compton addresses the employees participating in the Liberty Experience.
Stacy Compton briefs Liberty Driving Experience participants.

Speed Street is headed by Stacy Compton, the NASCAR Late Model Series and former Winston Cup driver who has been on hand for this week’s event. He has witnessed the camaraderie and excitement generated between Liberty staff members.

“A lot of the guys and girls come out here from the same department and a lot of times they start competing department against department and they go back with bragging rights, so it’s a great concept and a good way to bring people together,” he said.

A secondary purpose of the series is to show university employees appreciation for their hard work and to provide them with an opportunity to unwind outside of the office.

“So far, it’s been a big hit and I appreciate what Liberty’s done, coming out and allowing us to be a part of it,” said Compton, a resident of Grit, Va., and graduate of Liberty Christian Academy, where his daughters Olivia, 11, and Isabella, 8, now attend. “(On Tuesday), we had guys and girls up in the top three, so it’s fun to see everybody get out here and have fun and see how quick they can run.”

Feedback from employees who took advantage of the opportunity to spend a half-day out of the office and experience the thrill of racing was overwhelmingly enthusiastic.

“What a blast to drive these cool cars and get to hang out with folks from some other departments,” said Stephen Muller, assistant professor in the School of Music. “We all love and work hard at what we do so this was a fabulous distraction.”

“Thank you so much for allowing me to participate in the LU Driving Experience,” added Ashley Foster, a professional advisor with the College of Applied Studies & Academic Success. “It was awesome and I can’t stop talking about it.”

Participants in this week's Liberty Driving Experience give each other a high-five following a race.
Participants in this week's Liberty Driving Experience give each other a high-five following a drag race in the event promoted by Speed Street.

Greg O’Berry, an officer in the Liberty University Police Department, drives around campus daily, but not at the speeds he reached on Tuesday.

“I’m a big motorsports fan … so just the chance to get to come out here and drive fast and do something we don’t normally get to do is pretty fun,” said O’Berry, 27, who placed second in the road course and third for drag racing, taking home the first two trophies of his life. “It was a challenge. The first couple times through (the road course), you try to get your feel for it, but after that it got pretty easy and it turned into a lot of fun. As far as work activities, this was pretty cool.”

Compton, who started all of the drag races on the 300-foot strip, said overall the experience ran smoothly, with as many as 80 Liberty employees a day getting behind the wheel multiple times during four-hour morning or afternoon shifts.

“There’s a lot of moving pieces and a lot of things could go wrong, but if you’ve got the right people in place, it makes it a lot easier and we’ve got a great group of guys and girls that help us with this,” he said.

There are several groups taking part in making the event successful, including Mabry Automotive Group, the local Nissan dealer supplying the cars.

"We are excited to be a part of another partnership with Liberty University in addition to being named the Flames' official automotive partner," said Chris Mabry, owner. "We are excited to continue to be a strong community partner with Liberty, doing fun things that create excitement for the people in our area."

This isn't the first time that Liberty has built ties to NASCAR. Camping World Truck Series driver William Byron drives the Liberty University car. He is enrolling as a residential student this fall, and Compton said he anticipates having Byron participate in future Liberty Experience events.

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