(MOBILE, Ala. - February 21, 2013) - The "Moose", Thomas Praytor, had an extra pair of hands working on his ARCA Mobile 200 Ford for the Lucas Oil 200 presented by MAVTV American Real run at Daytona International Speedway. Dylan Martens, a graduate of the University of Northwestern Ohio's (UNOH) High Performance Motorsports program, joined the Max Force/Hixson Motorsports team to fulfill a lifelong dream of working on a race team.
"My goal has always been to work on a race team," said Martens. "I knew that having a degree from UNOH would help get my foot in the door and that's all I wanted was an opportunity."
The 22 year-old Michigan native got bit by the racing bug at age four when he began watching the sport with his dad. He quickly moved into racing quarter midgets by age nine and raced at Indianapolis for several years. Martens' time behind the wheel would be cut short but not his passion for the sport.
Martens has overcome more obstacles than most to reach his goal of working in motorsports. Born with cerebral palsy, a condition that can severely limit physical and mental abilities, he hasn't let it slow him down.
"I've had people tell me that I couldn't do this because of my disability. I believe that I can do anything I put my mind to. People just need to give me a chance to show them what I can do."
And with that attitude Martens found a kindred spirit in Praytor.
"Our entire Daytona effort was based on the idea that we could compete at this level, we just needed an opportunity to show what we could do and that's all Dylan asked for was a chance," Praytor said.
Praytor ran as high as second at Daytona and spent the better part of the day in the top five before a late pit stop would relegate him to a 22nd place finish.
"We had a chance to shine at Daytona and Dylan was a big part of our effort. He did a great job, never let up and did everything we asked him to do. He's one tough guy and definitely has earned a place in the sport."
UNOH's High Performance Motorsports program helped Martens prepare for the chance to work in the racing industry. Martens worked on the exclusive motorsports team at UNOH for two years. This team is made up of students in the High Performance Motorsports program that go above and beyond the school's requirements.
"Dylan is a great young man," said Steve Farmer, Vice President of Corporate Development at UNOH. "It's not an easy task to make the motorsports team. In Dylan's class, we had over 180 kids try out and only 34 were selected to the elite group. These kids are real athletes."
Martens' dream of working in motorsports is alive and took another step forward in Daytona.