A day at the races

first_imgPOMONA – Spending a day at the races – and out of school – is an idea Sandy Franco could grow accustomed to. Franco, 15, a sophomore at Nogales High School, spent Friday along with 29 other students at Fairplex in Pomona watching drag racing. More importantly, she also received advice from professional racers about the importance of education, setting goals and making positive decisions. The National Hot Rod Association’s Youth & Education Service program attracted 5,400 students from 90 schools in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties. The YES program was created in 1989 as a vehicle to connect students with careers in auto racing. For the last seven years, the U.S. Army has partnered with the NHRA in presenting this educational program that 50,000 students from across the country participate annually. Gonzalez, a senior, has come to the YES event for four years and is still thrilled by the prospect of meeting drivers and seeing race cars. Teachers also see the event as an educational experience for students. “I’ve been teaching auto shop for 18 years and I’ve been bringing kids here for 17,” said Tom Blair, an automotive technology instructor at Pioneer High School in Whittier. “I bring them to get them excited about automotives and auto shop – and it’s the one place they’ll come and they won’t forget what they see and hear,” he said. “These are the big boys who come racing here.” Phillip Jelinek has been taking auto-shop students at Monrovia High School to the event since 1989. He said one of the most thrilling aspects for students is always getting to interact face-to-face with the drivers and crews. “It’s the only motor sports venue that allows you to walk right up there in the pits and get within five to 10 feet of them.” Jelinek said the event also opens the students up to the many job opportunities available in racing – from marketing and graphics to cooking and sales. “Most of the kids don’t know what they want to do. This is just planting seeds, giving them ideas of what they can do,” he said. “There is just a myriad of careers associated with drag racing besides just working on cars.” Staff writers Cortney Fielding and Tracy Garcia contributed to this story. caroline.an@sgvn.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2108160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Friday’s agenda included remarks from racing pros Tony Schumacher and Angelle Sampey about setting goals. Then the students watched the qualifying runs of drivers for the NHRA’s Auto Club Finals. Additionally, students looking for a bit of physical activity stopped by the U.S. Army tent to compete in a push-up and football throwing contest. The diminutive Franco is a life-long racing fan who wants to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. She knows the value of a good education, Franco said, and having the opportunity to experience a competitive race in person was a treat. “I get to be out of school and see drag racing!” she said excitedly. David Muro and Jasmin Gonzalez, students at California High School in Whittier, were also excited to spend the day out of class and around cars. last_img read more

Amid icy trail conditions mushers ready for K300

first_imgMushers, handlers and organizers attend the Kuskokwim 300 Musher’s Hall meeting Jan 14. (Photo by Chris Pike/ KYUK)Twenty-five mushers, some local, some international – all prepared to race this evening along icy river trails — are in Bethel for the Kuskokwim 300. The race starts tonight at 6:30 p.m. It’s the longest of three races that’ll take place over the weekend.Download AudioLast year’s champion, Pete Kaiser is competing again this year. Kaiser was the first local musher in more than 30 years to win the race.“There’s not a lot of strategy in this race, just because there’s so little rest,” Kaiser said. “So, I think just managing the team’s speed is the probably the only strategy. I’ll be looking to go slower the first part of the race and try to manage their gas tank throughout the whole way.”Due to icy trails from warmer weather in the past few weeks, this year’s K300 race will start and finish with the first and last 50 miles on tundra trails. Kaiser flew his dogs up to Fairbanks to practice last week, and says he hopes the efforts were worth it. And he’s not the only musher focusing on pace during the start.Video by Dean Swope/KYUKBrenda Mackey is a lifelong dog musher and a former Yukon Quest competitor. This is her first year racing the K300.“Trying to slow the dogs down on the ice is going to be a challenge,” Mackey said. “My goal is to not go too fast to the first checkpoint of Kalskag, and I think that that’s going to be a challenge to do on the ice. So we’ll see.” Rhon Buser, who finished second last year by 13 minutes and first the year before, says this year’s trail is ideal.“[The] last year I won, that was the trail we took, so that was kind of exciting,” Buser said. “I know that trail pretty well.”Race officials say this year’s winner will receive at least $25,000 and the race will run about 280 miles, with checkpoints in Tuluksak, Kalskag, Aniak and back.And aside from the K300 this weekend, other mushers will compete in the Bogus Creek 150, the shortest race, the Akiak Dash, at roughly 50 miles.The Kuskokwim 300 race trail runs along the river to Tulusak and back. (Screenshot of Google Maps)last_img read more