Two races during racing at Bristol Motor Speedway are sponsored by a university, one designed for young racers.
You may have noticed that Wednesdays races at Bristol Motor Speedway, both the modified cars and the trucks are sponsored by something known as UNOH. That's not a product, but the University of Northwestern Ohio.
Why is a university a sponsor you might ask? That's what we wanted to know.
If you want to get the attention of a Tennessee High auto mechanics class, just rev a high-performance engine. Especially when the engine and the modified division car are all built by students from the University of Northwestern Ohio, the nation's first high-performance motorsports college. "In 1991 we rolled out the very first high-performance motorsports program in the world. In that first class we had 60 students and it's grown to we have have over 5,000 at the school now," University president Jeff Jarvis said.
And with any form of motor racing there's a lot to learn. "We learn fabrication, engine building, tuning, fuels, suspensions, just the overall basics of auto racing," says senior Mike Brookes.
They not only learn about it, they put it to the test every week at their own track. "We race every Friday night at Limaland Motorsports Park. We currently have three modified races every Friday and four stock cars in races there," Brookes said.
And those are cars built and driven by students. Many already have racing experience. "I race go-karts for 10 years going now, and I was racing before I came here. The motorsports program is just allowing me to take my hobby and make it my job," third-year student Larry Smith said.
"I've always been in dirt racing my entire life. I saw a lot of the dirt modifieds actually and I looked them up. It was my dream school really," second-year student Dwight Neihoff said.
They also take their knowledge to professional teams as interns. "The opportunity you get like working with some of these ARCA cars and Wheelin' Modified cars, a few guys work on truck teams," third-year student Ryan Odette says.
In fact, we learned there will be 42 graduates from the school at the track this weekend on various Sprint Cup teams and Nationwide teams.
If there ever was a racing university, this certainly is it.