Kenna Primm has high aspirations for her future with NASCAR. Someday, she hopes to own a race team, but understands it will be no easy feat to accomplish. Since graduating from Universal Technical Institute (UTI)-Mooresville at NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech) in 2010, Primm has risen through the ranks at Roush Yates Racing Engines where she now serves as director of marketing. While Primm is making strides each and every day to reach her end goal, it’s where she started, that amazes so many.
It was growing up in Greenwood, Ark., where Primm first observed the sport that would be the driving force in her blossoming career. Her father was an avid racing fan, and if Primm obtained straight A’s in school, her reward was a NASCAR race.
"I was always interested in it [NASCAR] and so was my dad," said Primm. "There aren’t that many family friendly sports out there anymore, so that served as our opportunity to bond. Those moments got me hooked."
Throughout high school, Primm continued to exude her passion for the sport, but not without criticism. Being a young woman in Greenwood, a town of only 9,000 people, wanting to work in NASCAR wasn’t the most popular idea. People were skeptical and thought it was a long shot, but that didn’t deter Primm.
"When I was growing up people would say, ‘you’re a girl, and you’re not supposed to want that.’ I didn’t care."
She was set on attending NASCAR Tech after graduating from high school, but was unable to find the means to pay for it. Instead, she headed 70 miles north to study at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville where she received a full academic scholarship after graduating from Greenwood High School. In just 3 1/2 years, Primm graduated with a degree in marketing management, and was about to earn the break she had been working for her entire life – an internship at Daytona International Speedway.
Even though Primm was excited about the opportunity to work for the most legendary race track in history, NASCAR Tech was still in her sights. A short time later, she became the first recipient of the Brienne Davis Scholarship, which afforded her the opportunity to pursue her dream.
When she arrived on campus, she was one of only a handful female student out of nearly 1,200, and the lone female in her classes.
"It was different, but a great experience," said Primm. "I learned that you have to show them you can do just what they can, and they’ll respect you like anyone else."
While at UTI-Mooresville at NASCAR Tech Primm wasn’t just a great student, but also a leader. She started a motorsports program called the Universal Motorsports Team, which consisted of a group of students who volunteered at different tracks to get hands-on experience and make contacts.
After graduating at the top of her class in 2010, Primm landed an internship with Roush Yates Engines in the marketing department. Three years later, Primm is now the director or marketing, overseeing the marketing staff. Primm feels that being able to speak to the technical aspects of the sport helps her when putting together marketing plans to gain exposure for the company.
Primm is a bright, talented and motivated young woman, but she’s not afraid to admit she received some help along the way.
"UTI-Mooresville at NASCAR Tech really put my life into motion," said Primm. "I don’t think I would be where I am, and as happy as I am right now, without their help. They mean the world to me."
Primm is still trying to accomplish her dream of becoming a team owner, but nobody can argue that she has come a long way since Greenwood, Ark., population: 9,000.