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Craig Davenport Professor Raymond English 1101 2 October 2013 Motorsports: The Undiscovered Truth 1. The motorsports facilities at UNC Charlotte are rather new. In fact, in 2009 a large

donation was given to the school in order to benefit the motorsports program: The family of late NASCAR champion Alan Kulwicki is donating $1.9 million to the motorsports engineering program at UNC-Charlotte. The trust fund, established by Kulwicki's stepmother, Thelma, was announced Thursday and is the largest gift ever made to the engineering school. It will be used for annual scholarships and the construction of a new building. "This was something Alan was very proud of and for him it ranked right up there with all his victories," Thelma Kulwicki said. "Alan was a firm believer in the inherent value of education, and his academic experiences helped him to overcome some big odds and achieve great things." The school's board of trustees will rename the existing research laboratory the Alan D. Kulwicki Motorsports Laboratory in recognition of the donation. (Kulwicki Family). Alan Kulwicki was the 1992 NASCAR Cup champion who was killed in a plane crash in 1993 but his legacy will live on through our school. The large sum of money donated to the school greatly benefits the motorsports program and will continue to provide support for those engineering students coming through with hopes of being in the motorsports program.

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There have been numerous NASCAR drivers and family members of drivers to come

through as students of UNC Charlotte. For example, Joey Coulter "is a mechanical engineering student in the motorsports concentration in the Williams States Lee College of Engineering. He is also an accomplished professional race car driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series" (Hermann 18). This shows that there are even drivers focused on getting there education while pursuing their dreams. Coulter is a young successful driver who will most likely be a household name in the future; he has already won a race in the Truck series. 3. The motorsports facilities have a rather substantial list of equipment and tools. For

example, the lab includes chassis, engine, and shock dynamometers, all sorts of heavy machinery and tools, and various testing tools. The Kulwicki lab is a 6800 square foot facility while the research facility is 16,000 square feet. There are also custom built wind and water tunnels ("Equipment & Capabilities). All of these specs show just how state of the art the motorsports program is at UNC Charlotte. There are many colleges without a program, let alone an entire motorsports lab and research facility. 4. Over the years, UNC Charlotte's Formula SAE teams and Baja teams have been doing

farely well. For example, in 2011 the Formula SAE team finished twenty-fourth out of ninetyeight overall. The team finished with statistics of sixty-seventh out of ninety-six in design, thirteenth out of ninety-five in presentation, and seventy-fifth out of ninety-nine in cost, thirteenth out of eighty-seven in the autocross driving event, and eighth out of thirty-six in the economy event ("Team History"). Granted, these statistics are all over the board; however, a final result of twenty four out of ninety-eight teams competing is something to be proud of, especially since it is a volunteer based program. The motorsports program has decided to change the process in which the Formula SAE cars are built, spending one year designing and the next

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building and competing. This new plan is in hopes to provide better opportunities for success in competition. 5. One of the questions that is always on everyone's mind is who gets to drive the race cars.

According to Dr. Tkacik, there are many hands on experiences, including driving the race cars: New race cars are built every year for competition. There are many leftover cars from previous years sitting around gathering dust. Most cars are scrapped for parts; however some are used as art and the 2006 FSAE car was adopted as a tool for the motorsports instruction class (Tkacik). There are often opportunities in certain classes, or if you're lucky just being around the opportunity to drive may just come up. However, to be the driver on the team itself, every member of the team is given a chance to drive the car. Whoever has the fastest time is granted the chance to drive in competition. Being the driver may be a lot of pressure, but it comes with a lot of prestige.

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Works Cited "Equipment & Capabilities." Motorsports Engineering. N.p.. Web. 1 Oct 2013. Hermann, Mike. "No Slowing Down." UNC Charlotte Magazine. 22 Mar 2013: 18-19. Web. 1 Oct. 2013. "Kulwicki family making $1.9M donation to UNC-Charlotte." USA Today. 15 Oct 2009, n. pag. Web. 1 Oct. 2013. "Team History." Society of Automotive Engineers. N.p.. Web. 1 Oct 2013. Tkacik, Peter. "Racing to Learn Engineering." ASEE. N.p.. Web. 1 Oct 2013.