The automotive classes at the Union County Career and Technology Center are getting into motorsports with their own race car.
Instructor Charles Womack said some 60 students in the three automotive classes he teaches are refurbishing a car for drag racing. Womack said the project is teaching students about the various aspects of auto repair. The goal is to have the car ready for competition by the 2008-2009 school year.
“We are building a 1981 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme as a drag car to compete in the foot brake class at the new drag strip being built in Union County,” he said. “The Machine Tool Technology Class is going to be helping us with some construction projects. We'll be building a roll cage, we'll be changing the rear end of the vehicle (and) the brake system. We'll be putting a totally different engine in it. This way we can teach kids all aspects of repair on a vehicle and take this thing out and compete.
“We will be on the racing circuit, we have a driver - Mr. Tom Lukens of T&L Race Cars - and we have Top Fuel sponsor -Terry McMillan - who is going to donate racing fuel and motor oil,” he said. “The administration and everybody is on board; we've got a lot of local support from the Union County Motorsports Association. We've got some corporate sponsorship coming on board with us. We will be competing; you will see us.”
Womack said the project grew out of a trip to the Atlanta Dragway. Every year, Womack takes his class to the dragway for career day activities sponsored by the U.S. Army. On their way back three years ago, his students asked if they could build a car. He approached the school district administration with the idea and was authorized to proceed. Since then, Womack has gathered the resources necessary to make the students' idea a reality including the car,which was donated by by J.T. Gregory
The project is being supported by the local NAPA store and by NAPA corporate, which is donating the auto body repair equipment and paint. The Career & Technology Center's auto body class will paint the vehicle.
Team Aruba has provided financial support and invited the project's crew chief, Tyler Lancaster, to be a member of their team during a race at Rockingham, N.C. Womack said Lancaster spent the weekend with the team and got to work on one of its cars.
The car being refurbished by the class is on the web at competitionplus.com and is listed as High School Horsepower. Womack said the status of the car and the efforts to get it ready for competition are listed periodically on the site.