Summer Camp Inspires Minority Youth to Explore Motorsport Careers
A summer camp in Winston-Salem is encouraging local youth to pursue NASCAR careers.
Nearly 200 children participated in the Diversity in Motion Initiative camps at neighborhood recreation centers in Forsyth County.
“My favorite thing today is changing tires. I got to change the tires,” says 6 year-old Zykeyua Conrad of Winston-Salem.
The free program is conducted by faculty and students with the Motorsports Management Program at Winston-Salem State University.
Kids get to participate in several games and activities centered around auto racing.
“We have one station where they will do a race, so they can learn about the different flags used in NASCAR. We also have a simulator where they can actually race each other on a computer using a steering wheel, brakes and an accelerator," says Clay Harshaw, assistant professor in the Motorsports Management Program at WSSU, and camp organizer.
The main goal of the camp is to expose minority youth in grades kindergarten through high school to career opportunities in motorsports.
Harshaw says, "The final activity station is a chance for them to meet with race car driver Matt Murphy.”
Matt Murphy, 12, of Charlotte is an award winning race car driver. He talked with other kids at the camp about the technical aspects of racing and showed them his late model race car.
Murphy hopes that he and professional race car driver, Darrell Wallace Jr. will inspire other African Americans to become involved.
“As both of us move up through the ranks, I hope we open doors and other African American kids will follow through those doors, and one day hopefully I will be in NASCAR,” says Murphy.
Students from the Motorsports Management Program at WSSU also shared their experiences with kids during the camps. Kyle Zimmerman, 26, just finished up an internship in the racing industry.
“It’s great to see young people interested in the sport. This is a competitive industry. What is great about the WSSU program is that you get to make connections. There are a lot of opportunities out there, anything from drivers, to mechanics and pit crew.
Organizers say this is the fourth year for the Diversity in Motion Initiative.