A unique partnership was announced today that Western Technical College based in El Paso, Texas, has become the Official Technical College of Don Schumacher Racing's U.S. Army (Tony Schumacher), Battery Extender Powered by Schumacher (Spencer Massey), Valvoline/Infinite Hero Foundation (Jack Beckman), and Make-A-Wish Foundation (Tommy Johnson Jr.) teams.
Western Technical College's mission is to provide quality training and education in a caring, professional environment that prepares new students and working adults with the skills they need to succeed and advance in their chosen careers. Those objectives will be enhanced through a unique internship program with the largest professional drag racing team in NHRA.
"We're always looking to add skilled and ambitious people to the DSR organization," team owner Don Schumacher said. "We started our relationship with Western Tech through Matco Tools and we expanded it last summer during the Western Swing internship program for all parties involved. We see this as an opportunity to help facilitate the skill set of the students as they move into professional working careers. We hope that a few of these students can call DSR and Brownsburg (Ind.) home in the next few years."
In 2013, two students from Western Technical College joined Don Schumacher Racing for the three-week "Western Swing" as interns. Students Kody Throop and Josh Lerma, now graduates, joined DSR's U.S. Army and Matco Tools teams for races in Denver, near Sonoma, Calif., and Seattle.
As part of the partnership, DSR and WTC renewed and expanded the internship program beginning at the season's 10th event June 13-15 at Bristol, Tenn. Four interns have been mentoring with DSR's U.S. Army (Matthew Anderson) and Matco Tools (James Jones) Top Fuel teams, and the Valvoline/Infinite Hero Foundation (Melvyn McMinn) and Make-A-Wish (Michael Clemente) Funny Car teams. The students also have worked with the teams at the race shop in Brownsburg.
Clemente, Anderson and Jones have joined their respective teams in the winner's circle at the Bristol, Epping, and Chicago races.
DSR will host four more interns - Cedric Cole, Michael Darbonnier, Rachel Kirkendall and Adrian Samaniego - for the three-week Western Swing that begins July 18 at Denver and continues at Sonoma and Seattle. A third group of interns will join DSR for the first four races of the Countdown to the Championship playoff (Charlotte, Dallas, St. Louis and Reading, Pa.) that begins Sept. 12.
"It is the desire of every Western Tech Automotive, Performance Tuner, and Diesel Technology student to excel to the top of their chosen profession," said Jack Werner, Western Technical College Director of Automotive Technology, Heavy & Light Duty Diesel Technology and Performance Tuning. "Our partnership with Don Schumacher Racing provides our students the opportunity to train with the best of the best in the highly competitive world of NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing. The students selected as DSR interns will apply skills learned at Western Tech in an environment that is a once in a lifetime experience. The teamwork, attention to detail and technical expertise learned by actively participating on a Don Schumacher team is training a student can't receive anywhere else in the world."
In addition to Western Tech branding on five DSR race cars, the school's logo will adorn the quarter panel of "Fast Jack" Beckman's Valvoline MaxLife/SynPower Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for NHRA races seven events including upcoming races at Sonoma, Seattle, Brainerd, Indianapolis and St. Louis.