U-M Engineering Students Gain Access to NASCAR Events, Racing Industry Opportunities

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Through a new partnership with Axalta Coating Systems and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, University of Michigan students will have prime views of the Pure Michigan 400 race week at the Michigan International Speedway, along with access to garage tours and panel discussions.

“Supporting STEM education and future business leaders is vital to our future,” Gordon says. “Every day the racing community depends on engineers to make sure cars are in top form, so linking STEM education to the technology behind successful racing is imperative.”

At the Pure Michigan 400 race week in August, U-M students will take part in a panel discussion with Axalta executives, representatives from the Michigan International Speedway, and experts from Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR. During Sunday’s race, Dale Earnhardt Jr., in his first year of an Axalta sponsorship agreement, will have a special U-M paint scheme on the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS.

“Engineering is an integral part of the racing industry, as it translates into practical applications we use every day,” says Steve Markevich, executive vice president of Axalta. “This partnership with U-M … will benefit current and future students and faculty while bringing invaluable assistance to the Axalta team.”

Markevich says the multi-year partnership also includes Axalta support of U-M faculty research through collaborative projects that aim to address future opportunities in the coatings segment.

“…Our students will have exciting career opportunities to explore at Axalta, and thousands of young NASCAR fans who flock to the Pure Michigan 400 this summer will see a block M on Dale’s car and learn about how they can pursue a career in engineering,” says Brian Noble, associate dean for undergraduate education and professor of electrical engineering and computer science at U-M. “Beyond the race and Axalta's valuable work with our students, we look forward to working with Axalta on challenging research pursuits that will develop new technologies to shape our future.”

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