Dodge scheme places 'minority' graduates

Three graduates of the 2001-02 Dodge Motorsports Diversity Scholarship programme in the USA have now been recruited in full-time positions by Dodge NASCAR teams. One graduate who has already started with Evernham Motorsports in the Winston Cup is joined by a second today (Monday). A third will join Craftsman Truck team Ultra Motorsports in October. The programme recruits and trains members of ethnic minority groups for positions within the motorsport industry

Dodge scheme places 'minority' graduates

The programme is now in its second year. "Dodge and DaimlerChrysler have been very proactive in ensuring that our workforce is diverse," said Bob Wildberger, a senior manager with Dodge Motorsports. "When we met with NASCAR at the beginning of 2000 to arrange our return to the Winston Cup, one of our goals was to create a programme that could bring the same diversity we see in our workforce into motorsport."

Candidates must belong to a recognised US ethnic/racial minority group (American Indian, Alaskan Native, African American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Asian, Hispanic or Latino). "This is a long-term initiative that will help educate, train and prepare a more diverse group of people to enter the field of motorsport," Wildberger continued. "Both Dodge and NASCAR are committed to broadening minority participation in motorsport."

The three new scholarship graduates are Jason Flamer (22), from Texas, Ramon Zambrano (21) from Virginia, and David Whippy (21) from Guam. All three were selected among the first recipients of full scholarships awarded by the programme administrators early in 2001. These scholarships, awarded to minority high school seniors or graduates, provided full-tuition and housing for the 51-week NASCAR-approved training at Universal Technical Institute (UTI) in Houston, Texas. The students received training in a broad range of technical disciplines including diagnostic analysis and mechanical and electrical systems.

Last month Dodge announced eight more minority scholarship winners at Michigan International Speedway. The 2002-03 scholarship class will receive full tuition and board to the 57-week training session at the new NASCAR Technical Institute campus in Mooresville, NC. The students will attend 39 weeks of traditional automotive service technology training that provides coursework in engine construction, electrical, fuel and lubrication systems, drivetrains, body and chassis fabrication and racing theory principles. The final 18 weeks of the programme will cover NASCAR-specific training, including the sport's history, rules and regulations, engine building and development, and chassis theory.

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