Story by David Own with Chambers County School District
Students from Inspire Academy in LaFayette hosted the annual Inspire Academy “IA 400” named for the annual spring green power racing circuit on their course track which is 0.400 miles long. The event was hosted in 10-degree wind chill factors with snowflakes falling on the student racers and their teams for the first 2 to 3 hours of the day. The Inspire Academy racing team braved the temperatures sacrificing preparation time on race day. Many of the students on the Piedmont Racing Team had to volunteer to hold course barriers in place throughout the day due to high winds. In all, the students demonstrated incredible dedication to ensure a successful race was conducted according to the team coach, Mr. Seth Stehouwer.
Unfortunately for the Inspire Academy racers, the team's overall results were negatively impacted by the severe cold and high winds they were forced to overcome on race day. Despite the challenges, the students and coaches were inspired to host a successful race for the visiting teams from Alabama and Georgia that traveled great distances to race in Chambers County.
The first race began at 8:30 a.m. with the day concluding with the race awards ceremony at 5 p.m. There were 12 racing teams in all that registered to compete in this event. The Piedmont Motorsports Racing Team is a competition team made up of students from Chambers County. All of the students take classes at Inspire Academy participating in the engineering and manufacturing programs. The race saw 21 cars compete with over 175 student participants in both the middle school and high school divisions.
The “IA 400” saw competitions take place for both high school and middle school team competitions in Stock Car Races and Custom Car Races. The team coaches are Mr. Seth Stehouwer and Mr. Tim Blanks that serve as teachers at Inspire Academy. The day brought four hundred plus parents, grandparents, and fans to the campus of Inspire Academy to cheer on the drivers.
The racing teams set up pit crew stops on what became pit road on the main infield for the racing track. All drivers went through the driver safety training meeting and cars were scrutinized closely for modifications to ensure compliance. Each car used a transponder to track the number of laps traveled during each of the four racing heats that were hosted for competition. Inspire Academy Principal, Dr. Tyler Nelson noted the race was a great success for all in overcoming the elements as an obstacle. Dr. Nelson added the school’s engineering program continues to grow and make strides thanks to the financial commitment and support of Superintendent, Casey Chambley.
Challenger Middle School Car #51 from Huntsville won the middle school division for grades 6-8 in the Stock Car Racing Division. Inspire Academy’s Piedmont Racing Sports Team saw its car # 223 place 2nd overall in the middle school Stock Car Racing Division. The IA car # 223 traveled 59 laps on the course covering 23.6 total miles for the race.
Bob Jones High School from Huntsville won the High School Custom Racing Division with their car #5 traveling a combined 70 laps for the day over the two racing heats conducted. Oxford High School from Calhoun County won 2nd place with their car #99 covering 67 laps. The Inspire Academy Piedmont Racing Sports Team saw its car #222 place 3rd overall in the High School Custom Racing Division with their car covering 51 laps for 20.4 overall miles.
The Inspire Academy coaches, administrators, and students would like to especially thank the IA 400 racing event sponsors which were JC Colley Trucking, PF Moon Construction, OCV Apps LLC, Chambers County School District, Inspire Academy, and The City of Valley Parks and Recreation Department. Special recognition goes out to long-time CCSD Career Technical Director, Mr. Ken Sealy who served as the IA 400 racing Grand Marshall to wave the green flag to begin the day’s races.
The next race for the Piedmont Motorsports Racing team from Inspire Academy will take place on Saturday, April 16th on the campus of LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia. Please consider making plans to come out to watch our local team race on behalf of the Chambers County School District.
Pictured below is the pit road on the infield for the racing teams participating in the “IA 400.”
Pictured below is long-time CCSD Career Technical Director, Mr. Ken Sealy who was honored as the “IA 400 Grand Marshall” for waving the green flag to start the race. Mr. Sealy’s final day of service for the district will be Thursday, March 31st as he is transitioning to work at the Career Tech division of the Alabama State Department of Education beginning on April 1st.
Pictured below: Pit-road preparation at the “IA 400” at Inspire Academy!
Pictured below: The IA race car #223 leads the backside turn on the course at the front of the pack
Pictured below is a racing coming out of the back turn at the IA 400