(Homestead, FL) — Albert Lea native Eric Nyquist has been with NASCAR for the past 16 years, currently serving as the senior vice president and chief communications officer. He’s never quite experienced a racing season quite like this one. The season was put on hold in mid-March due to COVID-19, leading to a series of live televised racing video games among some of the top drivers in the circuit. That was followed by the restart of the real racing season, making NASCAR the first major sporting organization to get competition going again. No fans were allowed to attend events. Then, racial unrest spread across the country after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, triggering a string of events with NASCAR, including this past week when it banned the Confederate Flag from being displayed at its races. And, now a limited number of race fans are slowly starting to be allowed back into venues to watch the events. Nyquist has helped oversee some of the planning of the return to racing from a communications side, as well as helping provide some of the messaging that NASCAR and the racing world wants to be inclusive and welcoming. He says this has been one of the most hectic and busiest times of his sports administration and management career. Nyquist says he has enjoyed the job and the challenges very much, but admits he also misses his home state of Minnesota, including the State Fair, the sports teams, and cool summer nights. After graduating from Albert Lea High School, Nyquist played college football at Carleton in Northfield and went on to work for the N-F-L, the Chicago Bulls, and the Chicago White Sox before moving to Florida after taking the job with NASCAR in 2005.
Eric Nyquist spoke with MNN Sports Director Mike Grimm about the past two months, as well as about his life in sports, which started in Minnesota: