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Course Of The Month
Vroom, vroom! NASCAR 101!

By Jon Sanders

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December 01, 2002

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This month’s course came to CM’s attention via Appalachian State University’s announcement that it was, in the words of The News & Observer story of Oct. 21 on the subject, “putting together a scholarly collection on the subject [of] stock-car racing,” for which the university “has assembled hundreds of NASCAR-related items, including 350 books and videos, racing magazines, race programs, photographs, newpaper clippings and oral interviews with the sport’s personalities.”

The N&O article also states that “For several years, ASU has offered a course in the history of motor sports as part of its emphasis on Appalachian culture.” That appears to be the following:

RM 3533: Evolution of Southern Motor Sports (a “selected topic” in the Recreation Management curriculum)

It’s harder to find out about the NASCAR course at Appalachian on the university’s web site than it is to learn about it elsewhere. For example, cogent quotations were sprinkled throughout a 1998 Augusta Chronicle column on it, including:

“What? They’re offering the history of NASCAR? I’ve GOT to take that,” said student Chris Cogdill, when he saw it listed in the course catalog. When he mentioned it to his friends this fall, the reaction was predictable: “Most people think it’s a joke. They’re like, ‘You redneck.’” ...

To Dave Piatt, a junior from Bahama, NASCAR is serious business. He practically grew up at the Orange County Speedway. Now, during summer and holiday breaks, he works at The Racing Edge, a NASCAR paraphernalia shop at Northgate Mall in Durham.

“This is a class they put here for me,” he said. “It’s my destiny to take this class.”



Also according to the Augusta Chronicle article, the class featured “plenty of reading, a midterm exam, final exam and a research paper,” and was “a lot tougher than [Cogdill] expected.”

One also learns from there and from LowesMotorSpeedway.com that NASCAR-related courses are offered at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, N.C. A&T University, N.C. State University, Elon College, Catawba Valley Community College, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Forsyth Technical Community College, Davidson County Community College, Mitchell Community College, Wilkes Community College and Wilson Community College.

That is why, according to the headline of an article posted on LowesMotorSpeedway.com Oct. 26, 2000, that the “Motorsports Industry Rev[ved] Up Its Engines In Support of Higher Education Bonds.”

The article discusses a joint press conference held in favor of passing the higher education bonds that featured Molly Broad, president of the UNC System; Martin Lancaster, president of the N.C. Community College System; NASCAR Winston Cup team owner Ray Evernham; and H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

 


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