By Stephen Lamarstephen.lamar@ardmoreite.com


What started 10 years ago as a plan to promote safety has turned into an annual event at the Southern Oklahoma Technology Center.

The Auto Collision department of SOTC was filled with classic cars, custom cars and race cars on Friday as part of an annual car that promotes safety and getting students off the street and onto the race track. Will Carrell, owner of Ardmore Raceway, and Bob Rickords spoke to instructor Royce Sanders' class on Friday, sharing information about racing at the track and the dangers of racing on the street. Carrell and Rickords first came to SOTC 10 years ago, approaching Sanders about creating an event to promote racing in a safe environment.

"They come down and promote safety," Sanders said of the event. "That's how this whole thing started just promoting safety."

"We're about fun but first and for most we're about safety," Rickords told Sanders' class.

Rickords and Carrell noted the benefits of racing in a controlled environment, which includes on hand emergency personnel and a track designed for racing. Carrell handed out fliers to the students with specific information about the track, including how the track is designed, upcoming races and current leagues the students could become a part of. Passes were also handed out to students so they can experience the track for themselves, with the hopes of getting racing off the streets and onto the track.

Sanders class weren't the only ones that got to experience the fun on Friday. As part of the event, a car show featuring a variety of classic cars was conducted in the auto collision building. Students from the entire SOTC campus toured the area and observed the cars. Sanders asks his class to create a report during the car show. The students are asked to pick a car at the show and give a presentation after spring break about the car, including specific and detailed information about their chosen vehicle. 

Sanders said the assignment allows the students to learn about the work and careful attention that goes into building a car.

"It gives them a professional piece," he said. "They can actually see if they work on these cars what they could have if they work hard on it."

Sanders said cars come to the event throughout the day at SOTC and the event is always a highlight for the students. What started as a way to get students off racing in the streets has become a strong, symbiotic relationship that continues to promote a safe, controlled environment for racing.

"It's good for the track and it's good for these kids too," Sanders said of the event.