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Commentary: Auto racing offers much more than just a race

NASCAR just announced that a Cup race is coming to World Wide Technology Raceway in St. Louis next year. In this commentary, Dave Steward and UMSL's Chuck Grange discuss how top-tier driving and technology contests can influence students.

Education | Viewpoint from the St. Louis Business Journal

by David Steward and Charles Granger

St. Louisans who heard that NASCAR is bringing their top-tier Cup race to Madison, Illinois, and the St. Louis metro in June 2022 are right to be excited. We cannot wait to see tens of thousands of cheering fans watching the incredible skills of drivers pushing their technical marvels to the limit at 200 miles an hour over the mile-and-a-quarter oval. 

In the past decade, owner Curtis Francoishas invested tremendous resources into the track — making it the only venue in the nation to host premier series for each of the three preeminent racing organizations: NASCAR, INDYCAR and NHRA. Drivers love the challenging course and fans have a first-class experience from the stands to the infield. 

But there is much more than the thrill of a NASCAR Cup race coming to the World Wide Technology Raceway (WWTR) just minutes across the river from another engineering wonder, the Gateway Arch. High-performance auto racing has everything you need to excite and teach students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), revealing the sometimes elusive concepts of mass, velocity, time, acceleration, energy and the physical world. And then there is the appeal of metallurgy, polymers, rubber and advanced materials such as carbon fiber composites. Of course, computers and complex math analysis are essential to any major sport but perhaps none more than the sport of motor racing. 

And what could be more fun than learning the engineering behind designing, building, testing and racing your own creation?

 

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