5 Questions with Senior Account Supervisor, Laz Denes
What does your current job responsibilities include?
I handle trackside support, ongoing media relations and social media implementation and management for U.S. Army Racing and drivers Tony Schumacher and Antron Brown in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, as well as for Wayne Taylor Racing and drivers Ricky and Jordan Taylor in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Also, I’m an occasional substitute for TSC’s regular NASCAR staff members. Finally, TSC’s in-house editor of all race previews, team reports and media kit materials each week during the racing season.
How did you get started in the racing industry?
By accident, quite frankly. I’ve always been a huge fan of the stick-and-ball sports and majored in journalism and physical education in college in pursuit of my dreams of being a renowned sportswriter. I worked at a couple of major metro newspapers all through college and then got my first full-time job at the Palm Beach Post in Florida, where I stayed for four years. Somewhat homesick for Southern California, I inquired about work at a renowned public relations agency in Redondo Beach that I would receive press releases from and whose King Harbor Marina address intrigued me. They hired me on the basis of a letter I wrote them and immediately put me in charge of their sportscar and off-road racing programs for their client Nissan Motor Company even though I had never been to a motor race. It was more important that I was a good writer, a seasoned journalist, and knew the ins and outs of how the media operates. The rest is history.
Who are some of the clients you have worked with?
I’ve worked with auto manufacturers Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Isuzu and Dodge; The IndyCar and Indy Lights series; Budweiser Jet Sports Tour; Race teams Wayne Taylor Racing, Cheever Racing, Mo Nunn Racing, Sam Schmidt Motorsports, Andretti-Green Racing, Fernandez Racing, Don Schumacher Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing and sponsors Konica Minolta, SunTrust Bank, Budweiser, Menards, Lowe’s, the U.S. Army and Yokohama Tire.
What piece of advice would you offer to someone starting in the sport?
Aspire to be a world-class writer. Learn how to write fast, and be an absolute stickler for accuracy. Good writing is at the core of and is the ultimate foundation for all means of successful communication, from a creative biography, to a breaking news release, to a media pitch letter, to an Instagram caption or 140-character Tweet.
What is one of the best things you have been able to do working in the sport?
One of the neatest things I’ve ever done while on the job was two seasons of “touring” in a rock-and-roll band headed by 1999 Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack, who is quite the guitar-playing phenom. We played in front of anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000 fans on huge concert stages at various racetracks and events and opened for huge acts such as Three Doors Down, Goo Goo Dolls, Train, Third Eye Blind Cracker, and the Doobie Brothers. I played bass one season and rhythm guitar during the other. It was truly my 15 minutes of rock star fame, over and over and over for two seasons.