Toledo native discovers NASCAR is worth a lookWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Covill no longer makes Toledo his home, but the Glass City is still his favorite pit stop.
The 1997 Cardinal Stritch graduate started working at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in April 2008. As a corporate partnerships executive, he frequently meets with Toledo area business owners to talk about entertainment and sponsorship opportunities.
“I am making people aware of what is up here at MIS,” the 30-year-old said. “It is right down the road. It is a great getaway and it’s not like it is far away.”
On MIS race weekends in June and August, all eyes are on Michigan, Covill said. It’s national exposure.
The one-hour commute from Brooklyn, Mich., to Downtown Toledo is something Covill enjoys making. He attends chamber meetings and is a member of EPIC, Engaging People, Inspiring Change.
Covill said he fights the stereotypes associated with NASCAR. Construction workers, CEOs of large companies and lawyers are all fans of the sport.
“When you look at the big picture, it is a lot of people coming out and having a good time, and not just enjoying the racing, but enjoying the camping,” he said.
Until he started working at MIS, Covill wasn’t into racing either. He watched a few of the big races, but went out of his way to avoid MIS. His parents bought a cottage near the track when he was in junior high, and “we knew on race weekends in June and August, you don’t go through Brooklyn,” he said.
When he started at MIS one year ago, it changed his perspective forever.
“I was like ‘wow.’ I have been avoiding this place for the past 10 to 15 years … it was like a three-day tailgate party.”
After graduating from Cardinal Stritch, Covill attended Miami University and earned his bachelor’s in business with an emphasis in finance. He started his own construction business before working for Ritz-Craft Homes in Jonesville, Mich. While there, he drove by MIS every day.
His friend and now boss, Josh Burgett, encouraged him to apply at MIS because the housing market was taking a dive.
“Nick has been great,” Burgett said. “He has really embraced how we do things around here, which is creating partnerships.”
Burgett, director of corporate partnerships, said it is not about getting the biggest deal; it is about creating lasting partnerships. Toledo has been a large consumer of MIS, although “we have never actively reached out to the Toledo community,” he said.
“The thing I am most proud of [Nick] is that he jumped in with two feet,” Burgett said.
Covill said while his new home is in Grass Lake, Mich., he has fond memories of Toledo, including Party at the Park.
He encourages friends to look at NASCAR as a means of entertainment. Toledo is the third largest demographic for MIS.
“My friends are settling down and getting married and having kids and this is something you can do with the kids, too, or it can be a time for the guys,” he said.
“I consider Michigan home, [but] I love Toledo and I love getting back there and seeing everyone,” Covill said.