(TALLADEGA, Ala. – April 30, 2015) – School is in session at Talladega Superspeedway, certainly in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards garage where teams are busy preparing for Friday’s Int’l Motorsports Hall of Fame 200.
When it comes to education, experience is often the best teacher, and there’s plenty to go around on ARCA’s national tour – 63 years and counting.
In fact, 26 students from the University of Northwestern Ohio’s (UNOH) High Performance Technology program are signed in, working with several ARCA teams/crews and getting an abundance of hands-on experience.
It doesn’t stop there. The Louisiana Tech University is also here in a big way in support of Lafayette, Louisiana’s Buster Graham (cover photo), driver of the No. 17 Roulo Brothers Racing-Louisiana Tech-sponsored Ford Fusion.
“The folks from Louisiana Tech are so excited about this,” Graham said. “We’ve got at least 60 engineering students and staff from the University coming over tomorrow for the race. They’ll all be wearing the Bulldogs school colors. We’ve got students, professors, alumni…they’re all coming over. We’ve even got “Champ” the school mascot coming. They’ll all be here for the autograph session, the race, the whole deal. We’re all really excited.”
Team owner Gary Roulo says that Louisiana Tech is the perfect fit for his program.
“This is such a great idea…this alumni-driven program from Louisiana Tech,” Roulo said. “It’s the perfect tie-in. We’re sports-driven and the school’s engineering-driven. The combination of the two makes perfect sense. We’re honored to be representing Louisiana Tech University.”
The University Of Alabama (UA) is also here via Orlando, Florida ARCA driver Tyler Audie, who made an appearance at UA Wednesday afternoon. More than 500 students from the general population and school of engineering, and media came out to meet Audie and see his No. 12 Audie Expo Chevrolet ARCA car. Audie will be attending UA in the fall through an earned academic Presidential scholarship, studying Aerospace Engineering.
The meet and greet at UA also garnered lots of news including feature stories in the Tuscaloosa News and National Speed Sport News, plus television coverage on FOX News (Birmingham, Ala.) and the NBC affiliate in Montgomery.
Ten UA engineering students and two professors from the school will be shadowing Audie’s effort Friday for practice, qualifying and the Int’l Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 race.
Students from UNOH are also spread out here at Talladega over several race teams including Venturini Motorsports, Lira Motorsports, Wayne Peterson Racing, Hixson Motorsports and more. Five from the group of 26 are assisting Wayne Peterson Racing’s two-car team.
“The students from UNOH are our core overall-the-wall guys,” said team manager Michael Peterson. “We’ve got five students working with us and they will service both cars on pit road. We actually stagger our pit stops so the students can focus on one car at a time. It’s a tremendous program. I don’t know what we’d do without UNOH and the support from the students.”
The five students working with Peterson include Camren Hammersmith, Austin Matthews, Bradley Frye, Byron Banks and Mike Abram. Abram will also serve as crew chief on the 06 car driven by James Swanson, which finished 10th last Sunday at Salem. Abram will be graduating from UNOH in early June.
Congrats David Levine
David Levine will replace the familiar driver’s suit and helmet he’ll be wearing Friday in Talladega for a cap and gown next weekend, as he graduates from college. Levine has earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications Studies from Furman University in Greenville, S.C.
“This race happens to fall right in the middle of my finals week at college,” Levine said. “After the race, I have to go back to school to take a few more finals, and then graduate on May 9. Finishing college is something that is important to me. Of course my goal is for racing to be my full-time job, but I’m realistic in understanding how hard it is to make that happen. My college degree is the backup plan if I cannot race for the rest of my life.”