September 21, 2023
Don O'Neal with dragster

CSU and Don O’Neal ready to burn rubber together

CSU recently entered a marketing partnership with race car driver Don O’Neal — a first for the school and the driver.

“We are excited about this great opportunity to partner with a celebrated and professional racer,” said CSU Marketing Director Beau Vignes. “CSU hopes this partnership will allow Don, who is a CSU student, to inform racing fans about the great online education CSU offers. This is a first for CSU and Don and we are excited about the potential of this great opportunity.”

“Working with CSU has been on my plate for over a year. After being a part of the student body on this side of the process, I am so happy with the quality of the education and user friendliness that I wanted to help spread those thoughts with others,” explained O’Neal, who has been racing competitively since 1998.

He said that CSU provided the most feasible approach to his hectic lifestyle as well as work schedule. “It allowed me to have the ability to complete school at my pace within a given timeframe and receive the education to be competitive in a career field I am passionate about,” O’Neal said, who is near completion of his bachelor’s degree in business administration.

When asked about his journey toward a CSU degree, O’Neal said the outstanding help from faculty and staff was memorable. “My Student Services representative helped me every step of the way through those eight weeks. I am sure hoping she received a pay raise after dealing with me,” he added.

Racing is his passion, but education also holds an importance for O’Neal.

“Completing this bachelor’s degree as well as my master’s are goals that I have to accomplish. In parts of the world today, people  still look at what you have done education-wise over your experience.  I do not want to be overlooked because I did not complete my education. Especially, when CSU’s flexiblity and tuition costs are there to take advantage of for my future,” he explained.

Racer Don O'Neal is a CSU student who is also a professional race car driver.

Racer Don O’Neal is a CSU student who is also a professional race car driver.

O’Neal is the first active-duty soldier to make it to a final round at an NHRA national event at the biggest race of them all — the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis in 2010. He’s competed in about 500 races, primarily in drag racing. He has been recognized by the NHRA Technical Department for having the best engineered car at its first race in 2008. He has served 22 years in the military and worked in the Army’s recruiting branch for the past 12 years.

O’Neal got into racing after his father died. “We worked on cars together as I grew up, and when he passed away it motivated me to want to complete his dream, and now it’s my dream.”

What else motivates him to race?  The fans and the competition.

“The fans are a huge aspect, because we are doing something that most people never think about doing. I would not be able to compete if it weren’t for the fans to market products and services to them,” O’Neal said. “The competition is fierce, it is extremely competitive, and no one likes to lose. We are the worst at losing. We work hard to represent our marketing partners, but when the helmet goes on, and the engine fires up, it is about you beating the guy beside you. Best buddies, friends, and even family… We want to see the win light come on at the end of the track. No one wakes up and says, ‘I am going to be a loser today.’ I want to win.”

His desire to win is also reflective in his partnerning with CSU.

“I’m extremely excited to be able to represent and communicate the programs that CSU has to offer. I hope that we are able to grow this partnership for many years to come,” added O’Neal.