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Ohio State students prepare ’90s Indy car for vintage race at IMS

May 12, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

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Some internships are not always the most exciting. But a group of Ohio State University students certainly aren’t having that problem.

Eight of them are helping to prepare a 1997 Chevrolet-powered Reynard Champ Car for racing in next month’s Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

More than 10 different classes of cars – from NASCAR stock cars to former Indianapolis 500 and Formula One machines – will compete in the vintage weekend.

Per a feature from The Columbus Dispatch (which also features a neat time-lapse video of the car being put together), the group – known as the Genius Garage Racing Team – is led by an OSU graduate, 32-year-old Casey Putsch.

It is Putsch, a restoration shop owner, that will race the car at IMS during the vintage weekend in a 35-minute sprint race on the road course.

While the students do not receive pay or course credit for their work with Putsch, they believe that the hands-on experience will be attractive on their resume as they pursue jobs.

“All of them really look for independence and being able to work and complete a project,” 19-year-old junior and team member Mahesh Chigurupati told the Dispatch’s Collin Brinkley. “And I just was really, really interested in learning more about this.”

Another interesting aspect is that each student on the team has been assigned to work on a specific part of the car. For example, Chigurupati has designed a new radiator and installed new brakes on the Reynard, Brinkley writes.

The team is expected to fire up the car for the first time later this week, and Putsch believes that their work will pay dividends on the track at Indy and later on in an upcoming race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

“I’m working with all the students carefully and seeing what they’re doing,” he said to the Dispatch. “We’re confident that everything they’re doing is being done right.”

  1. manik56 - May 12, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    I am surprised (maybe they do and it is not publisized) NASCAR, IndyCar, among others haven’t used more grad students as cheap or even free labor during these hard times. I am sure there are many brilliant minds that would love the experience of working for a race team. As my fellow Buckeyes are proving, they can do more than fetch coffee.

    • testover6370 - May 12, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      IUPUI has a motorsports engineering program that I have heard supplies interns to teams as well as Dallara and other motorsports businesses in the area. I’m hoping that’s accurate since I’ll be studying in that program starting this fall. :-).

    • indycarseries500 - May 12, 2014 at 8:46 PM

      Also Gordon Kirby put out an article today on JR Hildebrand getting high school kids into math/science/physics/engineering through racing. Definitely a good read if you have time to check it out.

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