Stock Car Racing as a College Sport?


New member
I picked up a couple of young lads a few months ago in my cab. I was telling them about the Purdue Grand Prix and where some of the local Colleges enter a Team every year. The conversation led to the idea of having a NASCAR-like series for The ACC. The main reason to have a Collegiate Race series is to have the Biggest tailgate party ever. Atfer talking to other students and what not, Here is a list of ideas (mainly from them) to run by the Bob's 4cycle family.

1. The cars must run a V-8 from a Stock truck.

2. The teams must be a Two-Car team (one for a Male driver and the other a Female driver to avoid a Title 9 Issue).

3. As per the NCAA rules, The team can not be paid a Salary.

4. In order to gain as much interest as possible, Have the races on Saturdays in the spring and during the week in the Autumn. In so not to conficit with Football.

5. Not have it be a spec series in order to encourage factory involvement. a.k.a., Supporting the schools engineering programs as a requirement to race in said series.

6. Have all the schools race in the feature and not in a one-on-one race (One student wasn't familiar with how most auto races were run). Hence also the large tailgate crowds at the track.

7. Have races at tracks near the schools, like Bowman Gray, Daytona, Watkins Glen, etc.

What ideas do you all have?
Many of the engineering/science colleges have competitions through SAE. Formula-SAE, Mini-Baja and SAE Solar car races just to name a few. Did the Mini-Baja myself back in the day (1989-1991) a SDSM&T. We traveled from Rapid City, SD to El Paso Texas and Milwaukee Wisconson (both competitions twice) to compete against other engineering colleges from all over the country. Extremely proud of SDSM&T and how their program has grown from a few of "us" guys getting our gearhead fix, to the scholastic program it is now. Wish we could have had the resources then to do the Formula cars.
unoh (university of northwestern ohio) fields an emod at their track, limaland motorsports park. i think i heard of some kind of involvement with arca too but i do not know any of the details at all.
Having raced in the Purdue Grand Prix, I can tell you that it is not the "engineering program" that some make it out to be. I would liken it to engineering about as much as the Rube Goldberg competition. All of the karts are pro-built factory cars, with cages added on (most fabricated at one of a couple local machine shops.) The engines are all pro-built by kart race engine builders. The drivers? Well, there is generally one actual kart racer or two in the field each year, and typically they dominate the race. The rest are fraternity kids that "think" they are bad fast. :) 33 karts in a 150 laps road course race with caged karts and very inexperienced drivers is more of an excuse to party on campus than an actual competition. Not taking away from the race and all the effort the teams put into it, it's just not what racers typically think of.

Now, in the last few years, Purdue has started an all electric grand prix....In this, there is a bit more actual engineering input and student participation involved, especially on the EE side.

The program that UNOH has is a true hands-on racing experience. From working on the cars, to maintaining a dirt track. I'm not too sure what the actual job placement rate is from there into the racing industry, but it looks to be a fun way to go to college. :)

Thanks and God bless,
Brian Carlson
Carlson Racing Engines
Vector Cuts
Celebrating 25 years of service to the karting industry
The UNOH program is very hard to get into
Most colleges with engineering compete in the solar racing and have for years, and it is backed by many large companies as well as the big 3 automakers.

Being a part of this site

I can tell you now, we are in the minority when it comes to college sports, there are some nascar threads from time to time, and it doesnt take long to see how it is thought of
Sounds like a marketing gimmick for a school to get your money. They had a few of those around, I don't think many of the graduates actually work in the racing industry. If you had just an engineering degree at least you would have something to fall back on, and wouldn't be in as bad debit as others.
Purdue does work within the auto and racing industry to place graduating students (not based on their "racing experience," rather their scholarship merits within the degree that they received at Purdue. Through IUPUI (Indy,) they have a booth at the PRI show each year. There is now a whole "Motorsports department" on the main campus. The university sees the motorsports industry as a viable workplace for graduating students and are taking a pro-active approach at getting students some visibility within motorsports. As more and more college graduates are faced with a serious lack of decent paying engineering jobs available, the motorsports industry is grabbing up some very talented young minds. Looks like a win-win to me (especially if you are a motorhead at heart.) :)
UNC-Charlotte has programs to receive a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Motorsports. Being right in the heart of NASCAR, graduates do indeed find themselves employed by the folks we see on TV on Sunday afternoons. Some find internships while still in school. Forsyth Community College in nearby Winston-Salem also offers programs to receive an Associates Degree in Race Car Technology that is supported by and named after Richard Childress.