Many schools of higher learning provide stadiums and arenas for their student/athletes to hone their skills for careers after college; yet one would be hard-pressed to find a university that own and operate its own race track to afford its student/athletes the opportunity pursue their dream in the racing industry. The University of Northwestern Ohio’s Limaland Motorsports Park is a quarter of a mile high-banked dirt track where students can race cars built by them in the university shops. UNOH also sponsors NASCAR events and a driver in every race it sponsors.
 Recently, the K&N Pro Series East race at the famed Martinsville Speedway and driver Eddie MacDonald carried the university’s banner for the UNOH Performance 200. President Jeff Jarvis is proud of the schools’ heritage and involvement in auto racing saying, “In 1890, the Lima Business School opened in downtown Lima and by 1970, we became the first automotive school in Ohio. In 1991, we became the first in the nation to offer a High Performance Motorsports program. Since then we have grown to be involved with, like today, the K&N Series and the Modified Series with four students assigned to each pit crews. It’s great for the students because they get hands-on experience sitting beside the professional. It is sort of an apprentice type situation that helps them further their career when they move on and get a job as a pit crew member, driver, owner, or whatever their passion may be.”
 The university was looking for a driver to sponsor for the race and NASCAR pointed them in the direction of Eddie MacDonald with Steve Farmer, Vice President of Development at UNOH, saying, “We met and struck a deal with the team then had Eddie visit the school a few weeks before the race. We took him on a tour; then had a press conference with him. He is a great young man and we are proud to have our name on the car.”

Farmer explained why it is so important for the school to sponsor a car in the race saying, “We are the only school in the United States that has students on motorsport teams that are considered scholarship/athletes. Students are awarded scholarships as part of their tuition. To participate on a team, they all try out for those positions. Eight of those kids out of thirty that we have will actually be assigned with four going to Eddie and four going to the Modified driven by Todd Szegedy in the companion race. The students are actually NASCAR licensed crew members and are able to provide over the wall services. It is a pretty neat deal for them.”
 Despite a disappointing afternoon on the track when tire problems knocked the UNOH/Grimm Construction Chevy from second place, MacDonald expressed his thanks for the university’s support saying, “The entire school community has been great to us. Steve Farmer and Dr. Jarvis really extended themselves to us. I visited the school a few weeks ago and I was definitely impressed. If you want to learn about high performance engines, that is the place to be. They have everything you need to be successful including their own race track. How cool is that? The four kids working with us were well prepared and very professional the way they handled themselves. Plus, I think they learned some valuable life lessons about never giving up. We had a fast car but a flat right front messed things up but the crew went to work to replace the sway bar to get us back on the track. We made a number of pit stops but we kept going. We could have just parked it for the day but that is not what we are about. I hope the kids saw that and realize what is important is that you don’t give up. We hope to be involved with the university again. They are a class act and I feel like we owe them one.”
 Dr. Jarvis also pointed out the school’s involvement throughout racing saying, “We have graduates on Cup teams, IRL, and NHRA. We cover the complete gambit of motorsports from grassroots racing at a local track all the way up to NASCAR. So it is a pretty intensive program. The student’s race at Limaland in stock cars and modifieds they built every Friday night during the race season. They also race down at Eldora Speedway. We race at Volusia during Speedweek every year. We have over fifty students involved with ARCA at Daytona on pit crews. We are also involved with Bristol Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway for the All-Star race, the Coca Cola 600, the Late Model race and the Chase race. It is a great opportunity for the kids. The school continues to grow and we are proud to say we’ve had students from all fifty states and sixteen foreign countries”
 “Student population has increased dramatically going from 2800 in 2005 to a little over 4600 with our fall start this year,” said Steve Farmer. “We are the only university in the country where you can get a two or four year degree in High Performance Motorsports. We are a complete university with College and Business all the through MBA programs. Our College of Technology consists of High Performance Automotive, Diesel, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Alternative Fuels. We are rolling out a new curriculum this year, a Sports Management Program which we are very excited about.”
 Farmer spoke of UNOH’s future involvement in racing saying, “We will almost always have a car in any race we sponsor, and I can assure you. We are probably looking down the road at some ARCA events to do some things there. Obviously we would like to continue our relationship with Eddie and Todd.”
 Dr. Jarvis concluded saying, “Eddie is a great young man and very personable. I observed him when he was at the University for the visitation day and interacting with our students. We could not have chosen a better young man to be there to mentor our students. I think he inspired them and pushed their goals a little farther, so we are excited about having Eddie as our driver. Even if winning doesn’t happen, the experience and opportunity our students have had is worth all of it.”
 MacDonald summed up his experience with UNOH saying, “I can’t thank them enough for everything UNOH did for us. We had a fantastic time here and at the university thanks to them. The students are awesome and I know they will be successful because of what the school is providing. We hope to be involved with UNOH in the future and hopefully give them a better finish. Regardless, I could not have asked for a better sponsor.”

 The University of Northwestern Ohio - Motorsports College Web

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