LEMOYNE, Pa. — Being a school in Juniata County has its perks, such as being rich with racing and having Port Royal Speedway less than four miles away; this gave ten eighth-grade students from Tuscarora Junior High School a unique opportunity to take the classroom to the track.
“In the classroom, teaching mathematics or science, you can only do so much with the whiteboards, videos, or computers. Bring the kids here for the hands-on experience of driving the go-kart and seeing it and feeling it from the seat, was just an experience they’ll never forget," said Scott Clark, a sixth-grade math teacher at Tuscarora Junior High School.
All interested students were required to write a paragraph on what makes them a good candidate for the track.
In total, nearly 20 applicants were selected, but names were then drawn from a box for the select ten lucky students to all have a fair chance.
The students were given a one-on-one session with 305 driver Owen Dimm and a surprise appearance by World of Outlaws driver Brock Zearfoss.
Dimm came up with the idea for the Racing Development Program with his dad; not every student has the opportunity to go to a race or be able to race, but this program offers them a chance to explore options in motorsports not just as a driver, but as a crew member, mechanic or parts developer if that's what they decide.
Both Dimm and Zearfoss got their start in go-karts, and they hope to spark an interest in these students.
“To have us in person, it’s kind of like when I was a kid meeting Tony Stewart or someone like that. So, I’ve been there. I’ve been a kid like that. I always try to keep that in the back of my mind when things like this come about. Just try to give that excitement that I felt, to the kids today," said Brock Zearfoss, Outlaw driver No. 3 Z Brock Zearfoss Racing.
From the classroom to walking the track, to suiting up and putting everything they learned into some real laps, these two want this program to set students up for success on the race track.
“The STEM program, it’s applied. So, you get to learn about it and then feel it on the track. It’s just a great opportunity to get their feet wet in the sport and just get some laps," said Owen Dimm, driver No. 17, 305 sprint car and East Juniata High School graduate.
The STEM program stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and it was incorporated into Juniata County School District this year.
“The more you learn, the better off you’re going to be. Every time I’m on the track, I still learn something. Every time you’re learning something new." said Dimm referencing his time on the track.
This experience was an eye-opener for the students.
“The experience and giving you the knowledge to be able to learn how to do it," said Liam Hanley, Tuscarora Junior High School eighth grader.
“I want to work on trucks and more like that. Even, someday, consider working on a racing team. So, this helps me get more confident in my decisions," said Julia Martin, an eighth grader at Tuscarora Junior High School.
But, in eighth grade, who really knows what they want to do? This program helps show students the diverse options within motorsports and allows them to explore and find what they are passionate about.
“They don’t really know what they want to be yet so if you can maybe spark an interest into a liking into motorsports, it doesn’t have to be a driver. It could be working on a crew. There’s a whole different aspect to racing behind the scenes," said Zearfoss.
Dimm and Zearfoss hope the program will spread the importance of influencing the next generation.
“I am young but I think the more you give back, the more fulfilling it is. One of those kids could be a future Outlaw Champion. You just don’t know," said Dimm.
Dimm hopes more schools work alongside a program like this. Similar to all professions, motorsports need the next generation to get involved or they risk the sport disappearing.
This was the first year of the STEM Racing Development Program. Dimm hopes to build onto the program each year.
Well, once again Mother Nature was not kind. The weather forced Williams Grove to once again cancel its opener. Port Royal and BAPS canceled their events on Saturday while Lincoln Speedway took a chance and was successful.
A rough start to the feature with six restarts before recording a lap. Chase Deitz lead every lap, but not without pressure from young gun Zane Rudisill in his second year racing 410s and searching for his first career win. Deitz took the 2D to victory lane for the first time this season.
Tanner Jones was victorious in the Central PA Legends feature.
If only the weather could have been the same on Sunday as the entire weekend. We would have been able to get all the shows in. Sunday was absolutely gorgeous for 410s and 358s at BAPS.
After being the winningest sprint car driver in 2022, Anthony Macri got the money off his back and picked up his first win of the season at BAPS.