Pitsco puts on CO2 races for students and drivers at Red Bull GRC event in D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 20, 2014) – What better way to teach STEM concepts to a group of urban middle school students than to let them customize their own cars and compete against each other and some of the most accomplished race-car drivers in the world?

Pitsco Education provided customized VW rallycross kits to 80 District of Columbia Public Schools students at an event in RFK Stadium on June 20, 2014, two days before the running of the Volkswagen Rallycross DC, which was the third round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross Series. Pitsco has been the leading provider of educational CO2 racing materials and equipment for more than 40 years.

Students had the opportunity to personalize their balsa wood cars and then race them in head-to-head competition on a Pitsco racetrack. Students were divided into four teams, each of which was joined by a professional rallycross driver: Scott Speed, Austin Dyne, Tanner Foust, or Steve Arpin.

The first-time educational community event was put on by Root Cause, Inc., and sponsored by Volkswagen and Andretti Sports Marketing with the hopes of increasing local students’ knowledge of STEM concepts associated with auto racing.

“The goal for Andretti Sports Marketing was to connect STEM concepts to racing, and there’s no better way than through CO2 racing,” said Pitsco Vice President of Education Matt Frankenbery. “When kids get their hands on those cars in a setting of real-world auto racing, it’s hard to beat. And the drivers were great with the kids.”

Added Jason Turner, CEO of Root Cause, Inc., which designed the program and engaged community support, “With exciting tools like these from Pitsco, together with the Andretti S.T.A.R. Program, we’re making real-life connections to science and technology most kids only see on TV shows and video games – up close and personal in a fun, hands-on, and immersive environment. At a critical educational juncture, middle school, we want children to see themselves working in these exciting STEM-based careers, and with access to events like this, begin to visualize a path to achieve it.”

After students worked in their “pit” areas to personalize cars and then raced them against each other and the pros, they walked to the paddock where drivers and mechanics discussed the science and engineering behind racing – both the type that would occur on the rallycross track and that which had been experienced on the Pitsco track a few minutes earlier.

For more information about Pitsco Education, visit www.pitsco.com. For more about the Volkswagen Rallycross DC event, visit http://www.rbgrcdc.com/. To learn about services from Root Cause Inc., visit http://www.rootcauseinc.com. For more about CO2 racing, visit Pitsco’s Science of Speed site at http://www.science-of-speed.com/.

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Pitsco Education is the leading provider of age-appropriate, student-centered K-12 STEM learning solutions. Our standards-based curriculum, products, equipment, and materials promote student success through positive and challenging learning experiences, and our hands-on solutions teach core concepts and career skills in science, technology, engineering, and math.

About the Author:

Andrea Jones

Andrea Jones is a technology specialist in Virginia. A former French teacher, she currently supports technology integration in a middle school.