The Inspire Academy Host Annual IA 400
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 Ra