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Teacher has his students build race car with help from a NASCAR team


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    NAPERVILLE, Illinois (WBBM) — With most high school sports on pause, one Naperville North teacher who has a background in racing found a great way to keep kids busy.

As CBS 2’s Matt Zahn reported Thursday night, the teacher, Gregory Ditch, got some help from a NASCAR team.

A group of about 30 students at Naperville North High School were recently found building a race car, socially distanced in small groups, and having a great time doing it.

“It’s a ton of fun,” said Nick Gameti. “We get to do so many things here.”

“I had no car experience, so I thought it would be a good way to expose myself to that and engineering as a potential career path,” added Grace Carsello.

“There’s not a lot of things to do right now,” said Ditch, their teacher. “Good or bad, I don’t have a lot of competition right now. Kids want to hang out.”

Gregory Ditch, an auto tech and engineering teacher who’s worked on NASCAR teams, got together with, which sponsors NASCAR Driver Michael McDowell and his Front Row Motorsports team. They helped provide parts to build the car and put together a question-and-answer Zoom session from North Carolina.

McDowell, who’s been racing since he was 3 years old, thought it was especially cool to see high schoolers so interested in cars and working together to build one.

“The thing that stood out was the community part — the building something together and going through troubles and figuring out solutions,” McDowell said.

The work will eventually lead to a finished 1995 Mustang GT that they’ll actually get to see on a race track.

“I’ve never been around race cars,” Gameti said. “It’s going to be an amazing opportunity to see it run in different races.”

Ditch says their goal is to display it at the Autorama car show in Chicago in May, and after that take it racing.

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