By Noral Parham III
Racing season is gearing up here in the Racing Capital of the World. The tires are warming up, the track is clear and class is now in session for one organization: NXG Youth Motorsports.
What is NXG Youth Motorsports?
NXG Youth Motorsports, also known as Nextgenracers, is a nonprofit organization that seeks to expose young African Americans and other young people of color to an industry where minorities are severely underrepresented.
The program utilizes motorsports as a tool for life skill development; the application of science, technology, engineering and math education; and for exposing careers in the motorsports to underrepresents minorities.
“We’re big on implementing a classroom setting,” said Rod Reid, coach and founder of NXG Youth Motorsports. “We give kids the tools necessary to navigate the race track and life.”
Life lessons, on and off-the-track
NXG Youth Motorsports has a curriculum designed for boys and girls ages 11-15, adhering to middle school-level academics and S.T.E.M. programs. Each class of the curriculum is approximately eight hours and includes hands-on classroom and race track training in go-karts that can reach speeds up to 50 miles per hour.
Their first class of the 2023 racing season took place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 2. Nearly a dozen kids decked out in full racing gear arrived on time at Gasoline Alley, excited to take their seats in Reid’s class. After reviewing safety measures, as well as math formulas for calculating speed, distance and velocity, the racers hit the racetrack in preparation for the start of their Grand Prix season.
There are approximately six to eight rounds of racing throughout the season, using four different race course configurations. Points are awarded in each race based on the driver’s finishing position. The driver with the most points at the end of the season wins the Driver of the Year Award. The driver also is recognized as the NXG Champion during the final, non-points race of the season.
NXG and S.T.E.M.
The NXG program helps to keep minority kids interested in S.T.E.M. and perhaps a career in motorsports.
NXG Youth Motorsports refers to this as their ‘Path-to-Pro’ development program. With this program, young adults 16-21 can get first-hand opportunities for internships and apprenticeships. Some of these opportunities include jobs such as engineers, managers, mechanics, crew hands, and even drivers. NXG also connects the students with opportunities in higher education and specializations in motorsports, while partaking in the ‘Path-to-Pro’ program.
“NXG teaches us about control on and off the track,” one racer said. “The program helps us make better choices.”
Recently, NXG Youth Motorsports expanded its range to include go-kart tracks in Detroit and Chicago, though most time the races will be in IMS or a Purdue University in West Lafayette.
“Life is about duality. We want to show the kids how to manage that duality in their personal and professional lives,” said coach Reid.
For more information on NXG Youth Motorsports, click here.
Contact multi-media staff writer at 317-762-7846 or email at NoralP@IndyRecorder.com. Follow him on Twitter @NoralParham.