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Intersection: Drag Racing And STEM

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Photo courtesy of Florida Institute of Technology

There’s a group of Florida Institute of Technology interns who face unique challenges, like keeping race car drivers safe if their jet propelled car crashes at high speed. 

Florida Tech partnered with Larsen Motorsports to offer hands on experience for students in the college’s STEM courses.

Elaine Larsen, drag racer and co-founder of the company,  Kat Redner, a driver in training, and Paige Sanchez, a crew chief for Larsen Motorsports, joined Intersection to talk about the internship.

Redner said she thinks drag racing is nerve-wracking at first.

“You have to calm yourself down when you get into the car and then you just focus for that finish line and the point to stop,” said Redner.

“When the parachute comes out it’s just pure relief,” Redner said.

Sanchez said being a crew chief is no simple task.

“I basically have Elaine’s life in my hands when I tighten those nuts and bolts in the race car it’s gonna go 280 miles per hour and her safety is all up to me.”

Larsen said she hopes the drag racing program will encourage other students.

“What I hope is that it plants a seed. I hope that it plants a seed that will grow to make these young next generation kids to say you know ‘if Elaine Kat, and Paige can do this what can I do?’,” she said.

“I want them to push their boundaries I want them to think outside the box and go for their passion and know that nothing can stop them except their own fear.”

“If you have the guts you can go for the glory.”

To learn more about FIT’s partnership with Larsen Motorsports you can visit jetdragster.fit.edu

Education reporting on 90.7 is supported in part by Helios Education Foundation.

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