CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. — Influencing the next generation is what keeps the growth of any sport. Imagine your first time at the track and getting a hands on experience.
Four Milton Hershey students got the opportunity of a lifetime at the 60th National Open at Williams Grove, last Saturday. It’s a sight that’s often imitated but never duplicated. The Pa Posse versus the World of Outlaws.
Here are just some of the reactions from student hearing the 900 horsepower for the first time:
“First impression, wow!”
“Hearing the engine. Hearing it all is just crazy.”
“No words can describe. It just brings a smile to my face.”
“Very mind blowing. I never would have thought I’d get this opportunity.”
On the biggest night in Central Pa, the Milton Hershey students were paired with a 410 teams of Outlaw drivers Brock Zearfoss, David Gravel, Spencer Bayston and Posse driver Dylan Norris, racing at the 60th National Open.
“Being able to witness this, first hand, down here in the pits is life changing," said Tia Willis-Cooper, Milton Hershey senior.
“You already learn so much about me being with the guys, tires, circumference, all of that. Putting the air in it. It’s just been an amazing night and first time being here and I already get to be in the middle of the pit. It’s like, c’mon, you don’t find this anywhere else," said Rayshawn Shuler, Milton Hershey student.
Not just witnessing the action, the students weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, jumping right in. It’s a fairly new partnership with Milton Hershey and the World of Outlaws.
In May, when the Outlaws were in town for the Morgan Cup, students got their first glimpse of a sprint car team when teams took a field trip to the Milton Hershey campus. This experience takes it to the next level.
“For me personally, it was extremely rewarding because it’s great to expose our sport to new fans. Potential new fans. So, any time you could get someone interested in what it is that we’re doing and see the excitement of the sport and meet the drivers that are really not much older than the students, themselves. So, anytime we can do that is just a wonderful experience for everyone in involved," said Melvyn Record, World of Outlaws Director of Business Development.
They're developing future relationships, that one day, we could see any one of these students working on a team locally or hitting the road with the greatest show on dirt.
Being a part of this partnership, it’s not just a time for learning for the kids, as it is for the Jonestown Jet. The local Outlaw driver, Brock Zearfoss grew up down the road from the school.
“Just being involved here for the past few months or so, I’ve really learned a lot of what the school is all about and it’s a very special thing knowing what Milton Hershey did," said Brock Zearfoss, Outlaw driver of the No. 3Z, Brock Zearfoss Racing (Jonestown).
These students are all in the field of automotive technology. It’s showing the many opportunities and career paths they can take, while also bringing some excitement at the track.
“My heart is racing right now," said Dante Thomas, Milton Hershey junior.
“To work with the crew and be able to work on the car. I think it’s an awesome opportunity. It’s great being here," Gage Thomas, Milton Hershey junior.
Everyone has a story. This chapter could make an impact that influences them the rest of their lives.