In just its third year of operation the ASA Educational Series has retooled its management staff and developed an aggressive program of expansion for 2009.
Dennis Huth, President of the American Speed Association, has joined ASA Educational Series founder Pete Raskovic as partner and the pair seek to build a nationwide program based on a successful model created at Raskovic’s Wisconsin High School and Madison International Speedway, an ASA Member Track in Madison, WI.
“What Pete has done with ASA Educational Series while tending to his many other responsibilities is impressive to say the least,” says Huth. “He has proven that the program has a lot of merit and can positively impact youth involvement in racing. Now it’s time to take it to the next level.”
The brainchild of Raskovic, Auto Technology Instructor at Beloit (WI) Memorial High School, the ASA Educational Series was based upon a project called Urban Force Racing created in 2007 with the help of the late Ken Hendricks, founder of ABC Supply Company. The goal was to encourage at-risk students to stay in school by giving them the opportunity to work on a competitive race team. The concept worked, garnering national media attention from media outlets such as Circle Track magazine.
The program really began to take shape in 2008 when Ohio Technical College jumped on board and the ASA Educational Series was launched at Madison International Speedway. By year’s end, the Series awarded over $200,000 in OTC scholarships to 16 students taking part in the program.
The ASA Educational Series pairs high school students interested in pursuing a career in the automotive field with a local race team. Students are required to work a minimum of three hours in the team’s shop during the week and at the track on race night with the end of season reward being a guaranteed scholarship valued from $1,500 to $25,000 to Ohio Technical College in Cleveland, Ohio.
“It’s great because Ohio Tech is a premiere college and has a first class training program for students interesting in automotive technology, said Raskovic. “They truly want to help young people become an integral part of the automotive industry.”
After proving the program’s success at Madison, Huth and Raskovic have set the lofty goal of having the ASA Educational Series at all ASA Member tracks by the end of 2010.
“Granted that may be a high goal,” says Huth. “But this program and series bridges an ever widening gap we are seeing in racing, that gap is getting the young generation interested in auto racing, especially if they are already interested in the automotive field.”
The process of achieving that goal is well underway thanks to Midwest Regional Admissions Manager of Ohio Technical College, Randy Dziadowicz. Dziadowicz has been visiting high school campuses and encouraging students to join the program. “We are proud to partner up with the ASA Educational Series to provide opportunities to students interested in the automotive industry,” Dziadowicz stated. “We have had a lot of interests from students and some have already visited our campuses in hope of joining us in the fall.”
At a recent meeting more than 30 students were on hand looking for that opportunity to be on a race team this summer. “I remember growing up, I went to the tracks because a friend of mine’s dad was a flagman, that is how I got into racing,” Dave Grueneberg, Promoter at Madison International Speedway stated. “This program opens that door for the students not many know someone in racing to get on a team.”
The race teams such as Ray Stevens, whose son Chad is a late model competitor at MIS, see the program as a benefit. Like many other teams, they are on a low budget and feel that this opportunity can not only help the students but help their team as well. For example, Stevens had four students talking to him after the aforementioned meeting and could potentially put all four to work.
“This year we have a lot of interest and a lot of kids who want to be in the program,” Raskovic stated. “We’re looking at 2009 as being the best year yet from the ASA Educational Series.
About the ASA Educational Series
The ASA Educational Series pairs high school students interested in pursuing a career in the automotive field with a local race team. Students are required to work a minimum of three hours in the team’s shop during the week and at the track on race night with the end of season reward of receiving a guaranteed scholarship valued from $1,500 to $25,000 to Ohio Technical College in Cleveland, Ohio. The 2009 season runs from May 22nd to August 7th. Each student pays for an ASA Membership to be a part of the program, while certain tracks like Madison International Speedway assists the students and teams by paying for their pit passes at every weekly event. For more information about the ASA Educational Series, please visit www.madisoninternationalspeedway.com and click on ASA Educational Points.
Ohio Technical College offers training in Automotive Technology, Diesel Equipment Technology, Auto Diesel Master Technology, Collision Repair Refinishing, Classic Car Restoration, Powersport Technology, and Manufacturer Programs which includes working right on campus with many of the world’s most technologically advanced vehicles like BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Volvo. More information can be found at www.ohiotechnicalcollege.com.
The ASA Member Track program is comprised of more than 35 short tracks around the United States, as well as a variety of regional and national touring series. For more information, call (386) 258-2221 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For news and information from all the racetracks and tours involved in the ASA, visit www.ASA-Racing.com.
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