Fifteen Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC) Automotive Technology students were guests of STP and enjoyed an experience of a lifetime during the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, September 3, 2017.
While at the track Too Tough To Tame, FDTC Auto Tech students toured the legendary track and learned firsthand of how NASCAR teams operate on a race weekend. The experience was all courtesy of STP, a longtime partner of Richard Petty Motorsports.
“It was a privilege to host students from Florence-Darlington Technical College at Darlington Raceway,” said Katina Wall, Marketing Director for STP. “There are automotive aficionados and future DIY-era in every community where NASCAR races. Their desire to learn more about the technological aspect of the sport, as well as future career options, is something STP is both happy to fulfill and enjoy seeing.”
Former crew chief and NBC Sports analyst, Steve Letarte, greeted the students when they arrived at Richard Petty Motorsports’ No. 43 team hauler. Letarte took the students inside the hauler and explained the process of how the team works on a race weekend. Afterwards, he gave a guided tour of NASCAR’s technical inspection in the garage area. Students followed a race team through the technical inspection process and saw just how perfect the cars had to be before they hit the high banks of Darlington Raceway.
“This opportunity was a dream come true for Florence-Darlington Technical College’s Automotive Technology students,” said FDTC Public Information Specialist Hunter Thomas. “The college can’t thank STP and Richard Petty Motorsports enough for this wonderful experience. For the students to get a private tour by Daytona 500 winning crew chief Steve Letarte is just priceless. The knowledge that Letarte has of the sport is just unparalleled.”
Following the garage tour, FDTC students experienced an up close and personal view of the NASCAR driver/crew chief meeting that’s held prior to every event. All of NASCAR’s superstars were gathered in one place as students stood by and learned about the various procedures that drivers go through during competition. Students then walked outside of the tunnel and attended an appearance by Richard Petty at the STP display area. At the end of the day, students enjoyed the 68th running of the Bojangles’ Southern 500 from the grandstands.