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Eighth-graders head to racetrack

One hundred Charlotte-Mecklenburg eighth-graders will go to Lowe's Motor Speedway next week for an event designed to get them excited about math and science.

The students, chosen from career-prep programs at Albemarle Road, Cochrane, Eastway, Northridge and J.T. Williams middle schools, will ride in pace cars, race remote-control cars and watch pit-stop demonstrations. The message: Racing is as much about physics and engineering as engines and tires.

“Think about science, technology, engineering and math. Then think about we're going to have some fun,” Charles Bowman of Bank of America, which is sponsoring the event, told students at J.T. Williams today. “You will be totally amazed at what you will learn and how much education you will need to be successful in this sport.”

Superintendent Peter Gorman and CMS science director Cindy Moss said the first-time event is part of a bigger push to encourage students to develop the math and science skills they need for jobs in technology and engineering. Teachers have also gone to the track to learn about the physics involved in NASCAR.

“You're going to see that science and math are used for people to have fun and make money,” Moss told the students.

CMS and Bank of America brought driver Kasey Kahne to J.T. Williams to announce the program today.

Some students were already hooked. Eighth-grader Weylyn Ivey, a Jeff Gordon fan, said he wants to be a racing technician. Classmate Joshua Reid, who prefers Rusty Wallace, said he already has some experience with a junior dragster his grandpa bought him. “I just started loving to race,” Joshua said.