Team Mopar crew members talk education

MANSFIELD, Texas (Feb. 28, 2001) -- The old images of greasy auto mechanics and oil-splattered rags have given way to advanced engineering and corporate boardrooms in the sport of motor racing. These new demands have also placed an emphasis on...

MANSFIELD, Texas (Feb. 28, 2001) -- The old images of greasy auto mechanics and oil-splattered rags have given way to advanced engineering and corporate boardrooms in the sport of motor racing.

These new demands have also placed an emphasis on finding qualified employees. No longer can a championship-caliber race team solely rely on a couple of 'shade tree mechanics' to chase its dreams of an NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series championship.

Some teams have gotten proactive in developing new talent. In fact, The Nickens Brothers Racing organization, which fields Pro Stock entries for Team Mopar drivers Darrell Alderman and Mark Osborne, recently sent crew members Mark "Sparky" LaVoie and Bo Nickens to speak with a group of ninth and tenth graders at Mansfield High School during its career-development day. The duo spoke on the importance of knowledge and hard work.

"It's very important for the younger generation to understand all of the avenues available to them in racing," said team owner and engine builder David Nickens. "When they're in high school, students are starting to think about their careers. They need to know that you don't have to build a car to be an important part of a race team.

"We are in constant contact with designers and engineers at DaimlerChrysler for research and development, many of which have advanced degrees in mathematics or aerodynamics," Nickens continued. "We also rely on marketing and merchandising experts to help us secure and maintain our monetary support."

LaVoie oversees the clutches on Alderman's Dodge R/T, while Nickens, who drove in both NHRA Pro Stock and Pro Stock Truck the past few seasons, heads the engine dyno and analysis program.

"We want to expose our students to exciting careers," said Mansfield High School assistant principal Lauren Brown. "If they can touch, see and listen to people who have made a difference as a result of their education, it will help motivate them.

"It also doesn't hurt to have such a high-profile race team on our campus either," Brown added.

Mansfield High School, which is located just outside of Fort Worth, Texas, has an enrollment of 3,950 students and is recognized as one of the state's finest.

"We think it's important to start planting career seeds as soon as children reach high school," Brown noted. "That's why we had the race team, along with our other speakers, come to the campus. The students have choices through high school and we want them to prepare for college with that in mind.

"I can say that we're pretty lucky, because about 80-percent of our students seek further education beyond what they receive here," said Brown.

Nickens understands a good education is very important.

"You never know," said Nickens. "One day, one of those Mansfield High students could help us capture a NHRA title with a new Hemi engine design idea. You just have to show them its possible."

-Team Mopar

------_=_NextPart_000_01C0A259.1E0BC210 Content-Type: Text/Plain; charset=US-ASCII X-Content-Type: application/msword; name="Mopar Education.doc" X-Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64 X-Content-Disposition: attachment; filename="Mopar Education.doc"

[ The following attachments were DELETED when this message was saved: ] [ A Application/MSWORD segment of about 24,700 bytes. ] ------_=_NextPart_000_01C0A259.1E0BC210 Content-Type: Text/Plain; charset=US-ASCII X-Content-Type: image/jpeg; name="NickensSchool.jpg" X-Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64 X-Content-Disposition: attachment; filename="NickensSchool.jpg"

[ The following attachments were DELETED when this message was saved: ] [ A Image/JPEG segment of about 67,962 bytes. ] ------_=_NextPart_000_01C0A259.1E0BC210--

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman