College Taking Over Langley Speedway | Thomas Nelson Community College

College Taking Over Langley Speedway

October 14, 2021
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Being successful on the racetrack requires more than speed. It requires extensive knowledge in science, technology, engineering, math and many more subjects. That is one of the reasons Thomas Nelson Community College is a sponsor for the Day of Destruction at Langley Speedway on Oct. 23.

“There’s only one driver on a race team. Then there are 11-15 other people that are analyzing data as the race is going on to determine when the best time is to change the tires, when the best time is to refuel, how high up to go on the curve,” said Eddie Swain of Workforce Development at the College. “There’s all this data-crunching that’s being done by the other people on the team. All of those folks are really good in science, math and technology.”

The College’s Workforce Development program has sponsored an event at Langley for years. In 2019, however, College officials decided to sponsor the fall Day of Destruction and have more of the institution become involved. The event usually attracts one of the largest crowds of the season, one that consists of a lot of families.  That factor attracted the College.

“We try to help the people understand, and help the kids especially understand, that if you’re interested in racing, you need to be interested in education,”  said Swain, who is the director of Professional, Credential and Continuing Education Workforce Credentials & Continuing Education. “That’s the connection.”

The day’s activities beginning at 1 p.m. include nine events. Among those are a tug of war, a burn-out competition, and a race where you drive clockwise around the track in reverse.

“Day of Destruction is not a normal day for us,” said Chuck Hall, the track’s general manager and promoter. “This is a day where cars get to crash and things of that nature ... It’s like a circus with crashing cars.”

Thomas Nelson’s presence will have an impact from the moment fans arrive at the track.

“We set up a big fall festival type of thing with a bunch of booths that are promoting the College’s programs,” Swain said, adding faculty and staff will be on hand to discuss the College's workforce development and academic offerings.

In addition, there will be demonstrations and Swain hopes to have the College’s welding simulator on site for people to test. Children in attendance will receive coloring books, crayons, and bags to decorate for Halloween, which is the following week. The kids can go to each of the College’s display booths to receive candy.

“We want to talk to kids about going to college,” Swain said. “We want to talk to the parents about going to college. We want to talk to parents about getting their kids ready to go to college.”

The relationship benefits all involved. More fans fill the stands, and those fans are possible College students.

“It’s to primarily bring the community together in a setting that’s entertaining, with family values,” Hall said of the partnership with Thomas Nelson. “It’s also an opportunity to introduce the speedway, we’re practically neighbors, to your students and teachers and administrators. And it helps promote what you have.”

Hall noted it’s probably the most diverse crowd of the year, and he’s expecting anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 fans.

“What we want to do is highlight Thomas Nelson,” he said. “There are a lot of people that race here that went to Thomas Nelson, so they’re alumni. It’s like a homecoming.”

The schedule of events, in order, but subject to change:

Reverse race: Drivers drive in reverse and backward (clockwise) around the track.

Flagpole race: First to complete five laps wins.

Bag race: Driver has a bag over their head and is directed by an in-car navigator.

Train race: Two cars chained together race for five laps.

Appliance race: First team to haul five appliances (adding one each lap) across the finish line using the car as a hauler.

Second-place race: Driver who comes in second wins prize money, while first across the line wins nothing.

Tug of war: Two cars nose-to-nose, single elimination.

Burn-out competition: The winner is decided by crowd applause.

Enduro race: Survival of the fittest, 50 laps.

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