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NASCAR Technical Institute using new technology to teach students how to build cars

Mooresville campus offers Computer Numerical Control Machining program

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — When you watch NASCAR on WCNC Charlotte, you see the drivers, the cars, and even the pit crews.

But the parts and pieces have to come from somewhere, and that's where the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville comes in.

"I mean not every school has NASCARs in the garage," student Travis Humphreys said. "So it's definitely fun."

Every major NASCAR team employs graduates of the program.

"When you're watching a race on NBC," VP John Dodson said. "You need to understand how integrated we are into the NASCAR industry."

The NASCAR Technical Institute has been placing graduates on teams since the early 2000s.

"The next generation of technicians or mechanics on the race team," Dodson said. "Every single team out there has NASCAR Tech graduates on it. We go to Victory Lane every week with every team."

In less than a year, students learn everything from pit crew, engine building and tech, and welding.

Welding is still a big demand, even with NASCAR rolling out NextGen cars in 2022.

"Even though it may be pre-formed or pre-fabricated, it's still got to be pre-made and assembled," Dodson said. "Welders are still in just as much need as they ever have been for this NextGen car."

Some of the students have worked at Roush Yates as interns while they're in the program.

NASCAR Technical Institute

  • Founded in 2002
  • 146,000-square-foot facility in Mooresville that can train up to 1,800 students
  • Offers programs in automotive, CNC Machining and Welding
  • 4 of 5 graduates find employment within a year

"You definitely feel like you're a part of it now," Humphreys said. "Especially with my internship at Roush. It's sort of like, 'Hey, I put that in that car.'"

And there's something new at the institute: Computer Numerical Control.

"We used to do it by hand, Dodson said. "So now we have these huge machines in here that do it through robotics."

Parts can be drawn on a computer, programmed into a machine, and produced right on the shop floor.

"The level of accuracy you can get with those machines is incredible," student Asa Streeter said. "I'm really looking forward to doing that."

Over the years, the sport, and the institute, have gotten more diverse. 

Earlier this month they invited 100 local high school girls to come to check it out.

"I have been in NASCAR racing when there were no females in the industry," Dodson said. "Now we have graduates setting up cars, building parts, manufacturing parts for racing and motorsports."

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