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Minority-focused program gives students a chance to race on Belle Isle

Minority-focused program gives students a chance to race on Belle Isle
Minority-focused program gives students a chance to race on Belle Isle

DETROITNXG Youth Motorsports was founded 15 years ago in Indianapolis in response to the lack of people of color in motorsports.

When Roger Penske bought the IndyCar Series, a partnership was born.

Read: NXG Youth Motorsports announces Detroit expansion with focus on minority students

On Belle Isle Saturday and Sunday, 18 children -- ages 11-15 -- participated in NXG’s pilot program. First, they learn in the classroom STEM concepts before they get to the course. The idea is to use performance driving as a tool for life-skill development.

“They’re learning and having fun,” said parent Melanie Thomas. “It gives them an awakening to another level of engineering.”

Thomas said her 13-year-old son Cameron really enjoyed himself.

The children topped speeds of about 20 miles per hour and received certificates, but the founder said it’s less about their times and more about how they improve.

“I learned about driving a go-kart and more about math,” said 11-year-old Denali Hodge.

Their families were the fans -- and they said they enjoyed their day at the track too.

“It was exciting to see her on the track,” said Denali’s mother, Tiffany Jeter. “One day, I hope to cheer for her on a professional track. Fun and exciting.”

NXG plans to host another experience in Detroit in the fall.

The Detroit Grand Prix Presented by Lear runs through June 11-13. Those involved in NXG and their families have been invited back for free to watch the races.

Click here to learn more about the NXG Youth Motorsports program.


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