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NASCAR comes to Southern Nash

Auto shop students get hands-on training

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NASCAR-affiliated technicians provided some hands-on training to Southern Nash High School students on Thursday.

Automotive teacher Zeb Simonof said the demonstrations let students know some of their employment options after graduation.

Representatives of Universal Technical Institute, a division of NASCAR Tech in Charlotte, met with auto shop students to demonstrate how math and science is useful in vehicle mechanics.

Mario Pennycooke, local area marketing manager for the institute, showed students how advanced computer systems and mechanics incorporate concepts learned in the classroom.

Students were able to test systems like shock absorption on a Kawasaki dirt bike and a high-performance Ford Focus RS.

Pennycooke talked with students about the importance of science, technology, engineering and math, and opportunities in the field.

He said too many students who know they’re not going to a four-year university think they don’t have to pay attention during classes.

“You need STEM to be able to work on cars, bikes, boats and diesels,” Pennycooke said.

Pennycooke said mechanics have to understand math and computers to work on modern cars.

Average cars today have more computing power than the rocketships sent to the moon six decades ago, Pennycooke said.

Simonof said UTI chose Southern Nash to visit because of its “amazing” automotive teaching facilities.

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