Courtesy of Racing Speed Associates/ASA Midwest Tour
Perhaps the only bad thing about the Urban Force Racing program is that Raskovic had to turn away 75 students because of lack of room. He could only accommodate eight. Enter Steve Einhaus and the ASA Midwest Tour, the newly formed asphalt Late Model tour based in Burlington, Wisconsin. Einhaus and Raskovic put their heads together to come up with a solution to the problem, and when they presented their idea to Hendricks, he told them to get it done.
It's called The American Speed Association Educational Series. Designed as a race within a race at ASA Midwest Tour events, the series allows students enrolled in accredited automotive technology programs nationwide to work as crew members on an ASA Midwest Tour Team. Participating high schools and technical colleges will be linked through the Educational Series to a Midwest Tour team in their area that has agreed to work with the automotive technology instructor, students, and the sponsoring school. The participating ASA Midwest Tour team carries the school's banner on the car, and the student crew members work with the race team weekly during the season, maintaining the car in the shop and at the track. At each Midwest Tour Series race, teams in the Educational Series score additional points based upon their on-track performance. At the end of the season, the team with the most points will be crowned ASA ES Series Champion. It will be possible for one team to win the ASA Midwest Tour and ASA Educational Series championships.
The innovative program even provides an ASA Educational Series representative to help schools execute the program and make the connection to the race team. Students taking part in the program will earn scholarships based on their participation and their team's success in the series. For example, Ohio Technical College offers full-ride scholarships to all of the student participants on the championship-winning team. In addition to OTC's contribution, other schools are getting involved. Ultimately, there will be partial scholarships available, and every student in the program will receive a scholarship of at least $1,500.
At press time, there were 16 ASA Midwest Tour teams fully committed to the Educational Series, with students already working with them. Einhaus anticipates more will come on board before the season starts.
Team Dan Lensing is one of those committed teams and has Beloit Memorial High School students Kyle Hopper, Andy Kolden, and Tim Jensen all working with him.
"I think the Educational Series is really important. It will be getting the youth back into the sport of auto racing," Lensing said.
The ASA Educational Series kicks off with the inaugural ASA Midwest Series race on April 28 at Elko Speedway, in Minnesota.