Many schools of higher learning provide stadiums and arenas for their
student/athletes to hone their skills for careers after college; yet one
would be hard-pressed to find a university that owned and operated its own
race track to afford its student/athletes the opportunity pursue their dream
in the racing industry. The University of Northwestern Ohio’s Limaland
Motorsports Park is a quarter of a mile high-banked dirt track where
students can race cars built by them in the university shops.

UNOH also sponsors NASCAR events and a driver in every race it sponsors.
Recently, the K&N Pro Series East race at the famed Martinsville Speedway
and driver Eddie MacDonald carried the university’s banner for the UNOH
Performance 200. President Jeff Jarvis is proud of the schools’ heritage and
involvement in auto racing saying, “In 1890, the Lima Business School opened
in downtown Lima and by 1970, we became the first automotive school in Ohio.

In 1991, we became the first in the nation to offer a High Performance
Motorsports program. Since then we have grown to be involved with, like
today, the K&N Series and the Modified Series with four students assigned to
each pit crews. It’s great for the students because they get hands-on
experience sitting beside the professional. It is sort of an apprentice type
situation that helps them further their career when they move on and get a
job as a pit crew member, driver, owner, or whatever their passion may be.”
The university was looking for a driver to sponsor for the race and NASCAR
pointed them in the direction of Eddie MacDonald with Steve Farmer, Vice
President of Development at UNOH, saying, “We met and struck a deal with the
team then had Eddie visit the school a few weeks before the race. We took
him on a tour; then had a press conference with him. He is a great young man
and we are proud to have our name on the car.”

Farmer explained why it is so important for the school to sponsor a car in
the race saying, “We are the only school in the United States that has kids
on motorsport teams that are considered scholarship/athletes. Students are
awarded scholarships as part of their tuition. To participate on a team,
they all try out for those positions. Eight of those kids out of thirty that
we have will actually be assigned with four going to Eddie and four going to
the Modified driven by Todd Szegedy in the companion race. The students are
actually NASCAR licensed crew members and are able to provide over the wall
services. It is a pretty neat deal for them.”


Despite a disappointing afternoon on the track when tire problems knocked
the UNOH/Grimm Construction Chevy from second place, MacDonald expressed his
thanks for the university’s support saying, “The entire school community has
been great to us. Steve Farmer and Dr. Jarvis really extended themselves to
us. I visited the school a few weeks ago and I was definitely impressed. If
you want to learn about high performance engines, that is the place to be.
They have everything you need to be successful including their own race
track. How cool is that? The four kids working with us were well prepared
and very professional the way they handled themselves. Plus, I think they
learned some valuable life lessons about never giving up. We had a fast car
but a flat right front messed things up but the crew went to work to replace
the sway bar to get us back on the track. We made a number of pit stops but
we kept going. We could have just parked it for the day but that is not what
we are about. I hope the kids saw that and realize what is important is that
you don’t give up. We hope to be involved with the university again. They
are a class act and I feel like we owe them one.”

Dr. Jarvis also pointed out the school’s involvement throughout racing
saying, “We have graduates on Cup teams, IRL, and NHRA. We cover the
complete gambit of motorsports from grassroots racing at a local track all
the way up to NASCAR. So it is a pretty intensive program. The student’s
race at Limaland in stock cars and modifieds they built every Friday night
during the race season. They also race down at Eldora Speedway. We race at
Volusia during Speedweek every year. We have over fifty students involved
with ARCA at Daytona on pit crews. We are also involved with Bristol Motor
Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway for the All-Star race, the Coca Cola
600, the Late Model race and the Chase race. It is a great opportunity for
the kids. The school continues to grow and we are proud to say we’ve had
students from all fifty states and sixteen foreign countries”

“Student population has increased dramatically going from 2800 in 2005 to a
little over 4600 with our fall start this year,” said Steve Farmer. “We are
the only university in the country where you can get a two or four year
degree in High Performance Motorsports. We are a full-blown university with
College and Business through MBA programs. Our College of Technology
consists of High Performance Automotive, Diesel, Heating, Ventilation, Air
Conditioning, and Alternative Fuels. We are rolling out a new curriculum
this year, a Marketing Management Program which we are very excited about,
and we feel we will be renaming some of the college names going from three
to five due to our steady growth.”

Farmer spoke of UNOH’s future involvement in racing saying, “We will always
have a car in any race we sponsor, and I can assure you. We are probably
looking down the road at some ARCA events to do some things there. Obviously
we want to continue our relationship with Eddie and Todd. One of the things
we are doing is expanding into bigger markets, different markets using what
we call guerilla marketing tactics. We are actually going in our
competition’s back door and sponsoring races to make a major play in the
markets they already control. We are now establishing representation in this

Dr. Jarvis concluded saying, “Eddie is a great young man and very
personable. I observed him when he was at the University for the visitation
day and interacting with our students. We could not have chosen a better
young man to be there to mentor our students. I think he inspired them and
pushed their goals a little farther, so we are excited about having Eddie as
our driver. Even if winning doesn’t happen, the experience and opportunity
our students have had is worth all of it.”

MacDonald summed up his experience with UNOH saying, “I can’t thank them
enough for everything UNOH did for us. We had a fantastic time here and at
the university thanks to them. The students are awesome and I know they will
be successful because of what the school is providing. We hope to be
involved with UNOH in the future and hopefully give them a better finish.
Regardless, I could not have asked for a better sponsor.”