LIMA — Twenty-four years ago, the University of Northwestern Ohio started its racing program and a trailer.
Now, the thriving program at UNOH draws students from all different fields of study and boasts one of the more competitive race teams in the area.
High Performance Department division head Paul Higgins and 2016 UNOH Motorsports Team Student Manager Trey Becker discussed the popular program at the Lima Rotary Club meeting Monday.
Higgins talked about how they went to the next level when the university re-evaluated its sports programs in 2006, and now UNOH boasts a program like no other in the country. The program features a seven acre, 70,000-square-foot high-performance motorsports complex with cutting-edge technology and equipment.
“We do not do any outside recruiting,” Higgins said.
Higgins said students in any program have participated, mentioning nursing and business administration as just a few who have participated while studying a completely different field. The students take care of every aspect of the racing team, from marketing to driving the vehicles.
“The only thing they don’t do is drive the semis and mow the grass,” Higgins said.
Students are also held to academic standards, having to maintain a 2.5 GPA to be involved and a 3.2 GPA to drive.
“We don’t want people coming just to race,” Higgins said.
Becker said he had traveled with a few professional racing teams and found the UNOH program on a Google search. He said the programs holds its own against other teams.
“It is great being able to go out and learn both in a textbook and hands on,” Becker said. “Being able to compete with some of the best drivers in the country keeps it going. We are very competitive with top 10-type drivers.”
Becker said employers also see the work ethic developed by UNOH motorsports graduates.
“When you are able to say you were a member of the UNOH race team, they move you to the top of the list,” Becker said.
The UNOH race team has four stock and two modified among its race-ready vehicles. There are 61 team members on the dirt-track team and 20 on the drag-racing team.
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or at Twitter @LanceMihm.