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Local high school students get an inside look into Indy 500 while learning the role of STEM in motorsports

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Posted at 2:07 PM, May 19, 2023
and last updated 2024-04-15 14:36:02-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, local nonprofit The STARTedUP Foundation hosted 50 high school students from the Indianapolis are to provide them a behind-the-scenes look at the world's largest single-day sporting event. Sponsored by Verizon, the ‘Hack the Track’ event allowed students to participate in a full day of events, challenges, and more to highlight the role and importance of STEM education and technology within the motorsports industry.

The students from Noblesville High School and Perry Meridian High School, started their day in Gasoline Alley where they heard remarks from last year’s IndyCar Championship winner, Will Power of Team Penske. Powers spoke about his mental process of preparing for any big race.

Next, the students took part in a STEM-Ovation challenge, where they broke off into groups and brainstormed all the different ways that having 5G network connectivity could improve and innovate a few different aspects of the motorsports industry. These ideas ranged from increasing diversity among drivers to taking the fan viewing experience to the next level on mobile devices.

“5G technology can increase the viewer experience by allowing more camera angles to be involved in the actual race itself so that the viewer can be more immersed in the race, " said student Mark Sherrill. “For example, we could put a camera in the helmet of the actual driver to see exactly what he’s looking at. It would feel like as the viewer, you’ve been placed directly in the car with them.”

Indianapolis Colts tight end and longtime supporter of the STARTedUP Foundation, Kylen Granson, was also on hand able to lend support and enthusiasm to participating students. He spoke to the group about his experience growing up having his mother as a teacher, and the importance of both prioritizing school work and even venturing into STEM fields.

To cap off the event, students were treated to the ultimate sneak peek of the Indy 500 - the opportunity to catch the professional drivers live as they practiced laps around the famous track.