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Kurland creates NASCAR Checkered Flag Crew

INTRIGUING INTERVIEW:  Conducting an interview, Andrew Kurland speaks with a NASCAR driver as part of his latest creation, the Checkered Flag Crew. The Checkered Flag Crew is an organization through which NASCAR drivers are interviewed. Photo courtesy of Andrew Kurland

INTRIGUING INTERVIEW: Conducting an interview, Andrew Kurland speaks with a NASCAR driver as part of his latest creation, the Checkered Flag Crew. The Checkered Flag Crew is an organization through which NASCAR drivers are interviewed. Photo courtesy of Andrew Kurland

Samantha Boas and Lorelei Streb, staff reporters

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The drivers, the crew, the engineers. All of these people make up the team members of a sport  that is surrounded by many misconceptions: NASCAR.

According to junior Andrew Kurland, his life has been strongly impacted by NASCAR. An avid fan, Andrew has taken his love of NASCAR to the next level by starting the Checkered Flag Crew, an organization that interviews and produces content relating to NASCAR and its drivers.

“[Checkered Flag Crew] was something I started four years ago,” Kurland said. “I’ve had garage passes for a number of years before that but I would just get an autograph [and] a picture with a driver. It’d be a five second experience. Before the Daytona 500 [in 2014], I thought it’d be cool to have a longer lasting experience so I brought a small microphone and camera and ambushed drivers in the garage. [Checkered Flag Crew] grew from there. I went to three other races that year and by the end of the year, NASCAR wanted to credential me as part of their media [team]. I’ve been doing it ever since.”

According to Kurland’s father, Dave, Kurland has been fascinated with NASCAR starting at a young age. According to Dave, when he took Andrew to a race, he decided to bring his dad’s microphone and camera instead of just getting autographs from the drivers. He thought it would be more fun to ask them questions and record it, Dave says. A couple races later he started up the Checkered Flag Crew.

“Andrew’s passion for NASCAR, no pun intended, fuels him,” Dave said. “He loves it. He lives and breathes it everyday. The Checkered Flag Crew is something that he started [and] he is now doing work for NASCAR directly. In fact, he’s not doing as much for Checkered Flag Crew as he was before, because NASCAR has asked him to do some work for them.”

Junior Benjamin Shabaz met Andrew in 7th grade. Together they worked on and edited videos that they made for comedic purposes. Shabaz went to a couple of races with Andrew and saw him interview well-known drivers at the Sprint Cup for NASCAR.

“He’s one of the few people I know that’s really interested in NASCAR at this school,” Shabaz said. “Sometimes he’ll try to incorporate NASCAR into his jokes or just in general when he talks with us.”

Since 2014, the Checkered Flag Crew and Andrew himself have grown significantly. This year, Andrew is working with NASCAR’s youth website called NASCAR Acceleration Nation. According to Andrew, the Checkered Flag Crew is something that has brought him a lot of joy and has played a role in determining the path he will go down in the future.

“I would be a completely different person if it wasn’t for that one day back in Daytona in 2014,” Andrew said. “What makes me look forward to the next day is editing the interviews that I produce and promoting it. It’s so fun to think of new ideas. I’m constantly trying to think [about] what could be a good interview idea [or about] what I could do next. I don’t know what I would be without [NASCAR]. It’s added [a lot to my] life.”

Without NASCAR, Andrew would not be where he is in his career today. Creating the Checkered Flag Crew has enabled him to pursue his passion of NASCAR and continue to follow this path in the future.

“I would like to go down a path to do something with video, tv, radio-so it’s a goal for me. I’ve already started looking at good broadcasting schools.”

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Kurland creates NASCAR Checkered Flag Crew