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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

At the end of January 2023, I was reading the February issue of Speedway Illustrated.  I’ve been a subscriber to the magazine for years and have always read it faithfully.  Well, the February issue had a column from one of the racers about being a racing journalist.  As someone who plans to do that for a living one day, I delved into the column.  At the end I felt inspired, realizing that my dreams weren’t so far-fetched after all.  I was so inspired that I felt compelled to email them my thoughts as they’re always eager to hear from their readers.  So, I composed an email and hit send. 

About two minutes later, my email sent me the email that the email couldn’t be sent.  Cursing my luck, I decided to DM them on Facebook, as they said that that’s another way they want to hear from readers.  The only thing is that it has to be signed.  So, I copied and pasted my email into the DM, and hit send. 

I went to school the next day, and as I was doing homework later in the day before dinner, I saw I had one notification in my Facebook messages.  Curious, I clicked on it.  I gasped when I saw it was from Speedway Illustrated.  As I read the message they sent, I went completely numb and couldn’t believe what I was reading.  The publisher of the company thought my writing was exceptional and wanted me to email him to collaborate. I quickly wrote his email into the “to” line for an email, put “collaboration” in the subject line, and typed up an email.  I hit send and went to go eat dinner. 

The next day, I received an email back from him, and we began collaborating.  He said that my first “piece” in the magazine was going to be my letter to them, as that was the first piece of work all the writers got published in the magazine.  So, two months later when the April issue came, there was my letter in the “transmissions” section of the magazine, with a response from the managing editor saying that I didn’t have to wait until I was graduated from college to apply for a job, and that I can start right now! 

Well, I posted that on Facebook, extremely proud that I had officially stepped foot into the field that I had chosen to pursue, and EVERYONE went nuts over it.  The journalist of my local racetrack (the one I thought was an abandoned factory) contacted me and said that if I ever wanted anything published on the speedway’s website to just send him the file and he’ll post it for me. 

I took advantage of that and wrote about my experience of learning about dirt racing and what it was, how I got to become an avid race-goer of Ransomville Speedway, and my personal experience as a fan.  I sent the document to him, and he posted it and boy did that shoot me into the goddamn stratosphere for both my professional and emotional lives. 

He posted it on a Saturday afternoon, and by that evening it had reached over 300 people.  By Monday morning it had reached the 1000’s and had even gone to other states apparently, as I received a friend request from someone in Massachusetts.  He had racecars and racing stuff all over his page, so I accepted it (we’re all family.)  About ten minutes later, I received a DM from him saying something like, “Hi.  How are you?”, or something along those lines.  Now, I’ve had bad experiences in the past of where that type of bland DM leads to some spam bullshit, so I replied back with a very curt “good.”   

That clearly didn’t affect the guy at all, as he messaged me right back saying that’s good and asking me if I would be interested in joining the Race Pro Weekly team, covering Ransomville Speedway and drivers from the area.  I was taken aback by the offer, but of course I accepted.  I mean, this is just more stuff that looks great on a resume for when I go full-time in this field. 

I replied and told him why I had sent such a curt message and that I was sorry about that.  Long story short, we conversed about what I would be doing, how I should go about submitting my articles for publication, etc., etc. Finally, he said that I could stay on the team as long as I wanted.  I said I appreciated that and that I would probably be on the team for a long time.  He said that’s good, and then he proceeded to tell me that he can’t wait to brag to everyone that Brooke Johnpier was part of team RPW before she was famous.  I was really taken aback at that comment, but it made me feel great. 

Two months after that, my first article with Speedway Illustrated came out.  When I posted that, everyone went crazy and congratulated me.  Quite frankly, I don’t think people believed me when I said that I had gotten a part-time job with them, as they’re the one of the biggest motorsports publications out there with over 65,000 subscribers.  But no matter, my first major piece of journalism had hit the stage, and I was damn proud of it. 

A couple weeks after my first major article was published, I received a big package in the mail.  I was confused about what it could be, and so I opened it with hesitation.  When I opened it, I literally started crying because my boss at Speedway Illustrated had sent me a plaque of my first article.  It’s the cover page of the article, with “As seen in Speedway Illustrated” above it.  It’s a beautiful piece of hardware and is proudly displayed on my bedroom wall.  When I thanked my boss for it, he said that that was what his boss did for him for his first Speedway Illustrated article, so he wanted to keep the tradition going.  I’m so glad he did.  

Right after receiving my plaque, I joined the Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) under Speedway Illustrated’s affiliation.  Although I didn’t apply for any awards in 2023, I plan to do so this year.   

Two months after I received the plaque and joined the EMPA, I started college.  I started out majoring in Sports Media with a minor in Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS).  Now I have decided to double minor in NAIS and English.  Also, when I started, I only wanted to do motorsports/automotive journalism, but now I also want to do some freelance music journalism on the side.  It’s certainly something what college, and an advisor, can do for you. 

About a month into my college career, my boss at Race Pro Weekly contacted me and asked if I wanted to do an exclusive interview for RPW with Mat Williamson.  My heart skipped a beat, and I replied back in all caps, “YES.” 

As a journalist, I can’t be biased, but on a personal level, Mat Williamson is one of my favorite drivers of all time.  I go over to his pit weekly at my local racetrack, and I’ve shared a lot of beers around his trailer late into the night.  Mat is the 2019 Super DIRTcar Series champion, an amazing driver, and if you follow dirt racing at all, you know that Mat is one of the biggest names there is. 

I did the interview, transcribed it, and sent it to boss-man to be published exclusively on the RPW Super DIRT Week (one of the biggest dirt racing events of the year) website.  Out of all the articles published that week leading up to the race, mine was the most popular, most read, most liked, and most shared of them all.  So much so, that my boss at Speedway Illustrated got wind of it and congratulated me on the piece.  Let me tell you, that made me feel great. 

For my chosen major at St. Bonaventure University, I have to complete over 400 hours of internship time.  100 hours can be completed through campus media, but the other 300+ have to be done outside of school.  The Jandoli School of Communication won’t let you graduate unless you have these 400+ hours, and although they say 400 is the minimum and you don’t have to do any more, they encourage you to go above the 400.  I agree with that logic and plan to go above and beyond with my hours.  With that mindset, I began to actively search for an internship.   

Before I came to St. Bonaventure, a current student was put in contact with me because we both share a love of motorsports.  The only difference is that he’s a NASCAR guy while I’m not.  Well, he told me about this website he writes NASCAR articles for and told me that if at any time I wanted to join to just email him and ask.   

As much as I hate NASCAR, it is racing.  And I would absolutely love to do something motorsports related for my internship instead of something I’m not truly interested in. So, I went to the website he told me about and looked around.  Much to my surprise, they don’t just cover NASCAR.  They cover NHRA, and now, thanks to me, they cover professional dirt racing.   

I emailed the student and asked him if I could join the media outlet.  He said yes, and about a week and a half later I was officially a member of The Podium Finish (TPF), thanks to the final approval from the editor-in-chief.  With TPF, I’m a staff writer as well as a social media promoter.  I never thought that I would enjoy promoting articles on social media, but I do.  And I’m getting hours for my internship for doing so. 

Not only do I LOVE my internship, but I’ve made history there.  Their first ever professional dirt racing article, which was about the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, was written by me.  It was the first article of its kind on the site.  The article also came out during Women’s History Month, which was the icing on the cake. 

Also with TPF, I am now a member of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA).  I know it’s a small feat, but to me it’s huge.  I’m a member of a national organization, and I’m only a freshman in college! 

Lastly in my life of chaos, I’m working on the biggest project of my life.  It’s not a journalism project, but it’s a project that will turn into a book.  This book will be something I’m proud of as I want to do this, and I believe this project will propel me into the stratosphere and jumpstart my career.   

I don’t know if you’ve ever read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, but that same exact thing is happening to me now.  In the book, a journalist from New York City is called upon by a famous movie star to write a memoir about her life.  Out of all the journalists in the world, the woman chose this small-time one.  Well, instead of a movie star, a famous rock star has asked me to write his memoir.  He could’ve chosen anyone to write this book, and to do exclusive interviews with, but he chose me.  And let me tell you, I am humbled. 

In conclusion, my story has really started to be written within the past year.  But each small step along the way led to what has happened and will happen in the future.  I can’t wait to see what my future holds, and where I will be in my career.  Each day is a new adventure, and I can’t wait to take part.  

Brooke Johnpier is a contributor to the SBU chapter of Her Campus. She writes about the more "manly" topics of the site, including automotive, motorsports, mechanical, technical, DIY, and anything hands-on. Brooke is also using this platform as her personal blog, of which she will talk about more personal things that she feels the world should hear about. Besides Her Campus, Brooke is a part-time motorsports journalist for Speedway Illustrated, a columnist for Race Pro Weekly, and a staff writer as well as a social media promoter for The Podium Finish, where she is interning. Brooke is also a writer for The Bona Venture (News, Features, and Sports), TAPinto Greater Olean, WSBU The Buzz (Music, and Sports), and PolitiFact NY. Brooke is also involved with St. Bonaventure's literary magazine, The Laurel. Brooke is currently a freshman at St. Bonaventure University where she is majoring in Sports Media with minors in Native American and Indigenous Studies & English. In her free time, Brooke loves reading, going to the local racetrack, riding four-wheelers, working on cars, and riding in tractor trailers. Brooke is a music lover, and will talk about most any genre, especially her favorites which are rock and rap. Brooke is also a percussionist, a published author, and a women's rights activist. Brooke is also a member of several lineage organizations, and currently holds a national position in one of them. As well as writing for campus media, Brooke is involved with Faith in Fiction, Jandoli Women in Communication, the History Club, College Democrats, and the Indigenous Student Confederacy. A fun fact about Brooke is that she was the only female to ever be in the top 5% of the Automotive Technology class at the trade school she attended in her junior and senior years of high school.