This has given students tangible automotive experience including a few who’ve been involved for multiple years.
High School Students Flock to Watch UVU’s Famed El Camino in Action
THE WOLVERINE RACE TEAM’S CUSTOM EL CAMINO DREW CROWDS OF INTERESTED HIGH-SCHOOLERS FROM AROUND THE REGION.
This time, there was an entourage. In its third year of competition, the Wolverine Race Team’s custom-built 1969 Chevrolet El Camino sped around the Bonneville Salt Flats at speeds as high as 194 mph during the 2008 Speed Week and World of Speed races. !e race team, which is spearheaded by UVU students, had about 275 students from local high schools cheering them on during the late- summer races.
"Talk about marketing. I was using it as a huge recruitment tool," gushed Todd Low ’86, faculty supervisor for the team and UVU alumnus.
Low credited the high spectator turnout to invitations sent to automotive classes at a litany of local high schools. UVU’s now-famous El Camino racer received even greater spotlight because the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association used its image on calendars, posters and T-shirts.
"Every T-shirt they sold at the event had our car on it," Low said.
The El Camino has become a symbol of engaged learning at UVU. Since 2006, roughly 100 students from various departments have worked on the project. Most recently, collision repair students did the body work and paint, custom street rod students engineered specialty items such as a roll bar and highperformance engine students worked on the engine.
The El Camino set land speed records for its class in 2006, and the 2008 race allowed students to do a little experimentation. !e team did runs using ethanol fuel and also collected a plethora of data, including measurements of fuel pressure, oil pressure, engine temperature and exhaust temperature. The data acquisitions helped the students analyze the vehicle and identify areas of improvement.
The race team has served as a means to obtain tangible automotive experience for many students, including a few who’ve been involved for multiple years. Brady Backus, a former automotive student at UVU, spent two years on the team, and current technology management major Kevin Petersen has worked on the project all three years.