Widely considered the most decorated—and creative—promoter in the history of NASCAR auto racing, H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler has amassed an unparalleled list of career accomplishments. He’s reached legendary status for, among other achievements, bringing night racing to Charlotte Motor Speedway while more than doubling CMS’ seating capacity; taking the company he co-founded, Speedway Motorsports, public as the first racing firm to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange; and serving as director of racing at Firestone Rubber & Tire Co. at a pivotal point in the company’s history.
Perhaps lesser-known—but no less significant—among his contributions to the sport: In 2003, Wheeler launched the acclaimed Motorsports Management program at Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina. What began as a field of concentration has evolved into a full-degree major that over the years has helped develop scores of future industry leaders. The curriculum itself prepares students to work in a complex environment that emphasizes the business, management, cultural and legal aspects of the motorsports industry. Past and current enrollees have interned with top-level organizations such as Atlanta Motor Speedway, Daytona International Speedway, DIRT and NASCAR, among others. And the program’s alumni have gone on to fill positions with the likes of Chip Ganassi Racing, Jeff Gordon Inc., and RSM Motorsport, to name a few.
Why do I bring this up? Because Wheeler’s brainchild is one of several top motorsports education programs profiled as part of a special article inside the February 2017 issue of PRI Magazine. In fact, writer Drew Hardin spoke with administrators from more than a dozen technical and vocational schools, as well as four-year and advanced education programs, to uncover the nature and scope of opportunities available to those who wish to pursue a career in motorsports. It’s a great read, and one that offers a unique look inside the coursework, requirements and philosophies of today’s leading institutions for advanced learning and skills development across multiple disciplines and areas of interest related to racing. Readers will also discover how many of these programs provide a well-rounded education by combining real-world experience and internships with a focused, dedicated syllabus.
Beyond the classroom, there’s no bigger advocate for the cultivation of young automotive talent than the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), which is now accepting applications for the 2017 SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund for students preparing for careers in the auto or auto parts industries. Offering financial assistance of up to $5,000 to help foster the next generation of aftermarket industry leaders and innovators, the program awards scholarships in a variety of categories. Students can apply for the scholarship at sema.org/scholarships. For more information, contact Juliet Marshall, SEMA’s manager of education projects, at 909/978-6655 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is March 1, so apply today!
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