March 25, 2014
Media contact: CeCe Todd, (480) 461-4032
Other schools have football and basketball teams, but the East Valley
Institute of Technology has a race car! EVIT #5, driven by R.C.
Whitwell, is sponsored by EVIT students and staff and is now competing
in the Dirt Late Model racing series.
EVIT, a public career and technical school in Mesa, offers over 30
occupational training programs tuition-free to high school students and
tuition-based to adults. EVIT serves students who reside in 10 East
Valley school districts – Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Fountain
Hills, Apache Junction, Gilbert, Higley, Queen Creek and J.O. Combs.
The idea for an EVIT race car came from collision repair instructor
Hollywood Leary. “I think a missing part of our school – that, by the
way, is an amazing facility full of amazing teachers and students – is
that we don’t have the football, baseball or basketball team to rally
around on Friday nights,” he said. “Well, I believe I have found a cure
for the missing piece of an otherwise perfect puzzle.”
Leary, who used to race and manage a race track, asked Jeff and Mitzi
Manka of Glendale, Ariz., if EVIT could sponsor the car they own.
“Hollywood can be pretty persuasive,” Jeff Manka said. “Many of the kids
at the school are in automotive and diesel, so how can it not be a
The car, a 2013 Rocket, has 800 to 850 horsepower and can reach 100
mph at the end of straightaways on the dirt track, Manka said. Its
driver, Whitwell, is well known in West Coast Late Model dirt racing.
For a donation of $5, EVIT students and staff can have their name put
on the car alongside the EVIT logo. During two assemblies on Wednesday,
March 26 – 9:45 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. – EVIT students will get their
first up-close look at the car.
“Some schools have a football team, some schools have a basketball
team. But we have a race car,” said Superintendent Sally Downey. “It’s a
great way to build camaraderie. When it’s racing locally, we can all go
to the race track and root our car on to victory.”
To see EVIT #5 in action, visit this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OIu_o-ULuE