Powell taking first step toward NASCAR mechanics

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 11, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Anthony Powell wants to be involved with NASCAR someday. But he doesn’t want to be a driver.

Powell, a graduate of Nansemond River High School, recently enrolled at the at the NASCAR Technical Institute at the Universal Technical Institute (UTI) campus in Mooresville, N.C. More than 75 percent of the Truck, Busch, and Winston teams reside near Mooresville, appropriately known as &uot;Race City, USA.&uot; It’s the first technical training school to combine a complete automotive and motorsports technology program under the NASCAR name.


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In September, he’ll start training to become a professional automotive technician.

&uot;I’ve wanted to work on cars since I went to a car show in California when I was a little boy,&uot; said Powell, 19. &uot;My friends always come over and ask me to help fix their cars. I wanted to get a competitive job in the automotive field, and I thought this would be a good chance.&uot;

Assisted by NASCAR Winston Cup Series Crew Chiefs, Powell and his colleagues will learn about engine construction, electrical, fuel, and lubrication systems, drive trains, body and chassis fabrication, and racing theory principles. They’ll go over the history, rules and regulations of NASCAR, as well as the teamwork needed to put together and champion-capable effort.

But Powell already got his hands dirty with oil and dirt; he was a straight-A student in automotives at the Pruden Center. &uot;We work on engine safety, how tools work, tire rotation, things like that,&uot; he said. &uot;Right now, we’re working on engine performance. It’s not easy; it’s about on the same difficulty level as English or history.&uot; The class finishes in June.

Powell’s Pruden Center class has only four students. Once he heads down to Mooresville, the playing fields might get a little more crowded. The 146,000 square foot facility includes over 40 classrooms, nearly 50,000 feet of hands-on shop training areas, a welding/fabrication lab, a shock and engine lab and dynamometer, a separate chassis dynamometer building, two custom-made training programs, and a studio set for NASCAR Tech television.

In 14 months, Powell might be an Automotive Service Excellence certified mechanic. After that, he might want to work at the Capron or Langley Motor Speedways. &uot;There’s a chance I’ll get in, but I know it’s slim,&uot; he said. &uot;I’ll hopefully get to work at a well-respected company, like Ford.&uot;