weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Guys plus cars: An educational equation

Although the terms “Ten80” and “NASCAR STEM Initiative” may sound unattractive or even nerdlike to some, for five students at Boulder City High School, the bottom line is guys and cars, with science added in for good measure.

Conner Armstrong, Jarid Bell, Teagan Smale, Weston Little and Dylan Amico, along with auto shop teacher Rodney Ball and science teacher Charlene Wiesenborn, are wrapped up in the Ten80 Student Racing Challenge: NASCAR STEM Initiative, described on the challenge website as “project based learning that doesn’t forget the learning.” The term STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The students not only enjoy science and auto shop classes, but through this racing experience they’re learning other life skills: public speaking, marketing, fundraising and teamwork. All of these elements are part of the racing challenge for the Boulder City High School students.

According to the racing challenge website, the experience is designed to teach the students how to create their team “in ways that mirror business and marketing executives, engineers, technicians, green transportation designers and professional sports teams.”

Through the program, students learn to optimize performance of a radio-controlled race car that is a 1:10 scale version of a NASCAR stock car to become certified in race engineering, according to the initiative’s website. Once certified, they collaborate, create and compete in project categories that include robotics, engineering design and fabrication, creative engineering and innovation and sustainable transportation through renewable energies.

Students earn points for every qualifying activity in a yearlong Web-based race. Teams earn a spot at finals by winning a regional event or qualifying through the national points race.

On Feb. 22, the Boulder City team qualified to participate in the national finals in Charlotte, N.C., May 16-17, based on cumulative points they earned since late in 2013. The final step is going out into the community and raising the money to pay for the trip.

The student racing challenge was made possible, according to Ball, through a grant from the Youth Education Service through the U.S. Army and NASCAR.

All the students agreed they have a love of auto shop and when Ball announced there was going to be a NASCAR team organized for students, they were eager to join. Because of this racing challenge, they also are enjoying science classes.

Each member of the racing team is responsible for different aspects of the race as well as different portions of the entire project.

Bell made the car body design and obtained local sponsorships. Smale worked with suspension and tires. Little does most of the driving and helped Smale with his tasks. Armstrong pitches in to drive the car and works the pits. Amico is the “speech person” of the crew and works on marketing.

Even though the car the team is racing may be a tiny version of a NASCAR entry, the guys “run it as NASCAR,” Smale said. “We make adjustments to the car; we race the car; we do the graphic design part of the car.”

They also have to figure out how long the car battery will last during a 30-minute race and make sure it is near the pit when the time comes to change the battery. The team learned this quickly during an early race, and knows the car battery needs changing three times during a race.

Ball said the team will be hosting a night race at the high school in April, where the community will be able to see what the racing challenge looks like.

When asked what they would win should they take first place in the national finals, the team members didn’t have a ready answer. They are focused on racing and learning and having a great time doing both.

To help send the crew to the National Finals, contact Rodney Ball or Charlene Wiesenborn at Boulder City High School, 702-799-8200.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
New council seated

Mayor Joe Hardy took his oath of office along with new council members Steve Walton and Cokie Booth during a special City Council meeting Tuesday, Nov. 29, night.

Holiday activities fill December calendar

December’s arrival can only mean one thing in Boulder City: It’s time to celebrate.

Police investigate Thanksgiving shooting

Police responded to a call of shots fired at 10:48 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Nov. 24, in the 1000 block of Boulder City Parkway, said Lisa LaPlante, communications manager.

Past year reflects positively on future

It’s my second holiday season in Boulder City since I became a resident in August 2021. As the end of this year approaches, I want to reflect on what I’ve appreciated experiencing, working toward and accomplishing. There are many to thank for our focus and progress in 2022, including the City Council, city employees, and residents’ feedback.

Outgoing council members honored

City Council honored departing members and unanimously approved or voted to postpone all actions during their meeting Tuesday, Nov. 22, night.

Election results certified

Results of November’s election were made official by a unanimous vote during a special City Council meeting Friday, Nov. 18, morning, with Cokie Booth being elected to council by 133 votes over incumbent James Howard Adams.

Business Beat: Credit union receives advocacy award

Always keeping the needs of its members in mind, Boulder Dam Credit Union was recently recognized for its work advocating for the financial needs of those who belong to the financial institution.

Unofficial results: Booth to join council

Cokie Booth has unofficially won the race for a seat on City Council.

Bureau unveils plans to replace lawn

Boulder City residents were able to get a look at Bureau of Reclamation’s plans to replace the lawn above Wilbur Square Park with desert landscaping during an open house at its administration building Nov. 10.

Man gets up to six years for fatal crash

A man who admitted driving more than 130 mph prior to a 2019 crash that killed 58-year-old Randy Reiner listened to emotional statements from Reiner family members before a judge sentenced him to up to six years in state prison Tuesday, Nov. 15.