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ESPN to cover NASCAR racer’s visit with Vanderbilt Motorsports students

Braun Racing driver Burney Lamar and crew chief Trent Owens have some advice to share with engineering students next week and ESPN plans to cover the campus visit.

Lamar, driver of the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota for Braun, located in Mooresville, N.C., and Owens will tour the school of engineering’s motorsports facility April 9 and offer advice to students as they prepare their formula-style race car for upcoming collegiate competition in Virginia, April 22-25, and in Michigan, May 13-16.

The visit is part a unique internship program developed by Braun Racing and Dollar General Corp. with the School of Engineering and announced in January. The program includes campus visits by Braun team engineers, mechanics, crew chiefs and drivers in an effort to provide personal hands-on training.

Vanderbilt Motorsports simulates an engineering company. “Students learn how to design and manufacture in the real world,” said Cody Mayer, a senior in mechanical engineering and student president of Vanderbilt Motorsports. “When this type of internship program is combined with classroom theory, we produce engineers who are one step ahead of the rest when they graduate,” Mayer said.

ESPN coverage of the visit will air Saturday, April 11, before the 3 p.m. (CT) start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series 300 race at Nashville’s Superspeedway as part of ESPN’s pre-race coverage.

In addition to Mayer and university staff engineer Phil Davis, who is adviser to the motorsports club, students who will meet with Lamar and Owens are Ashley Ledlow, Kyle Cappello, Chris Cameron, Scott Nill, Danny Weinstein, Trevor Bruns, Jordan Croom, Omar Saleem, Justin Schneider, Rich Gromberg, Xavier Waller and Greg Greenwald.

They also will be special guests of Braun Racing and Dollar General at Saturday’s NASCAR event and will view the race from the pit, and possibly assist crew members throughout the event weekend.

The university’s motorsports program is for student members of the Society of Automotive of Engineers (SAE) who participate in Formula SAE competition.

The competition calls for students to conceive, design, fabricate and compete with small, open-wheel, formula-style racing cars. The cars are built with a team effort over a period of about one year and are taken to the annual competition with approximately 120 other vehicles from colleges and universities throughout the world.

Cars are judged on a series of static and dynamic events including technical inspection, cost, presentation, engineering design, and high-performance track endurance and handling. SAE specifies that a new frame be constructed each year to promote design changes in every aspect of the vehicle.

“Dollar General and Braun Racing’s support has given our team the backing needed to take our program to the next level.  Due to their generous donations of money, equipment, advice and experience, engineering students who participate in the Vanderbilt Motorsports program are learning more than ever,” Mayer said.