Naperville North Students Build Race Car with Help from NASCAR

With limited on-campus activities available, a Naperville North High School teacher thought rebuilding a car would be a fun project for students.

“It’s more than just about cars. It is about that social-emotional learning,” said Greg Ditch, an auto tech and engineering teacher at Naperville North.

Learning Something New

Ditch said the activity allows students to socialize while staying safe. The 30 young mechanics are divided into groups, coming in on different days.

The experience also teaches each something different.

“I’m planning on going down the engineering field and this will help me learn my understanding of engines, how they work,” said Nik Gameti, a freshman at Naperville North.

“I knew literally nothing about cars,” said Naperville North freshman Avery Belgio. “I’ve gotten to work with so many things and learn a bunch of terms.”

Building a Race Car

From putting on new rotors and springs to painting the car – rebuilding the 1995 Mustang GT has been a great hands-on activity during a time when there’s not much to do.

“It definitely has been a great pastime, being able to come into the shop and kind of escape school work and everything and being able to work and just have fun,” said Naperville North junior, Tyler Stanton.

The group has been able to do their work with the help of carparts.com who supplied most of the parts needed to get the car reassembled.

Help from NASCAR

The company also virtually connected them with NASCAR driver, Michael McDowell, and his Front Row Motorsports team.

“That was kind of an intimidating experience for the kids but also a very good experience where being able to interact with the people in the top level of the professional sport actually showed a lot of respect for what they did, so it was also a great confidence builder for us,” said Ditch.

Once it’s ready, they plan to get the Mustang on the track at the SCCA Solo Race and Autorama car show.

The group hopes to finish building the race car by late February or early March.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.

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