Champions, Cheaters and Childhood Dreams: Week 7 of summer camp comes to a close

In our second to last week of the World of Speed Summer Camp program we had two groups that learned about an array of motorsports topics. The bigger of the two was the Design, Build and Race who spent the week onsite learning about shapes and structures of cars. The first project these students tackled was building a scale racecar frame modeled after a quarter midget car donated by the Biggs Racing Team. Complete with wheels, these little rollers were close replicas to their speedy counterpart.

Next campers took a tour of the museum and played with the interactive displays we feature at the World of Speed. Taking turns at piloting our real- life racing simulators, the students were impressive behind the sophisticated machines. At the end of the week the fastest on the NASCAR was 14 year old Devin at 50.782. Fastest on the IndyCar simulator was 16 year old Danny at 1.19.300. Lastly on the Lotus, the quickest was Danny again at 1.33.761.

One of our main attractions for this group was designing their own Pinewood Derby cars. Thirteen year-old Harley visited our gallery for inspiration. “I picked the one with the airplane engine. I just liked the shape,” he said in reference to the vintage Nelson Ranger Special.  The resemblance is clear with a new- age flair. The overall Pinewood champion was 13 year old-Ethan with his “the Car” racer. The design award was a tie between 14 year-old Sam for his “Millennium Chicken” and Devin’s “In Progress” car. The students also learned to build a car from the inside out by working with model car sets.

This is the first and only week that we offered the Automotive Field Trips program. Every day was a different adventure by taking excursions into different aspects of the automotive industry. The first trip we took was to the Western Antique Aerospace and Automotive Museum where we dove into pre-World War II planes, cars and memorabilia. Thanks to the WAAAM staff, were we even allowed to view the restoration hangar at some of their projects. After we went to Metal Technology Incorporated and saw how raw materials play a big role in manufacturing all thanks to Matt Crateau.

The next location was our tour of the Mercedes dealership thanks to Shawn Ryan. From there Chemeketa college graduate, Amy Bower talked to us about her progression in the industry through schooling and gave us tour of Capital Auto in Salem, OR. On our way out of town, we took a detour to Salem Auto Body where Ray Carson showed us around his shop and explained specifically the kind of projects they take on. “We work on a lot of cars, school buses, RV’s and other stuff… we fix what no one else can figure out in Salem.” he explained. As he took us from the painting room to the body and metal fabrication buildings he provided a reoccurring analogy for the week: “It is like baking a cake. We get all of our ingredients from different places. It is our job to put it all together and make it work.”

Through connections Matt Markstaller, the students were taken on an exclusive and extensive tour of the Daimler Truck testing and manufacturing facilities. We saw the test wind tunnel and an assortment of rooms and machines that tested every aspect of every product they sell. Our tour guide, Edgar Antonio was even a previous participant of the Oregon State Formula Racing team while pursuing his mechanical engineering degree. He talked about how he has the chance to apply his knowledge and implement it at Daimler. “Everything we do here at this facility is all prototype. It is all about collecting the data.” he explained. By experimenting and tweaking the truck’s aerodynamics, durability and more, he and his team showed us how they're able to refine their product.

It was an adventurous week at the World of Speed Summer Camp. We explored, raced and became more knowledgeable about the automotive industry.