MOORESVILLE, NC (January 15,2013) Someone once said, “It’s not where you start, but where you finish.” Considering the path to his current career in motorsports, that person could have been talking about 2003 NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech) graduate Jonathan Sickler. For the last two years, Sickler has been an integral part of the No. 8 Rev Racing Toyota pit crew where he serves as a finish fabricator and drives the team rig that hauls the cars. All those miles on the road and hours in the garage could take a toll on a person, but not Sickler. “If you’re passionate about what you do and enjoy it, it doesn’t seem like work,” said Sickler. Even if it doesn’t seem like work, the time and effort he and his team put in this year was well worth it. In Nov., the No. 6 Rev Racing Toyota driven by Kyle Larson captured the K&N Pro Series East crown with engines built by current Universal Technical Institute (UTI) students in the Spec-Engine Program. The victory marks the first NASCAR touring championship for Rev Racing and NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity initiative. More than a decade ago, when Sickler was installing car stereos in Pinellas Park, Fla., NASCAR championship trophies were not exactly top of mind. However, as he worked more with cars, he developed a passion for them, beyond the stereo component. Taking on the same tasks, day after day, he was ready for a change, and knew that expanding his knowledge of cars was the first step. At 25, Sickler packed up his belongings, drove across the country and enrolled at UTI-Avondale, and completed the 51-week Core Automotive Program. With a solid mechanical foundation, Sickler was ready for more. After speaking with NASCAR Tech representatives about their industry specific training programs, “Race City, USA” and NASCAR Tech was his next pit stop. “The curriculum was really strong and I was at the age where I was mature enough to understand what I wanted to do and how I was going to get there,” said Sickler. “NASCAR Tech provided a platform for me to accomplish my goals.” At 27, Sickler was not deterred from reaching the pinnacle of the racing world. UTI and NASCAR Tech see a lot of students walk through the doors and embrace the understanding that no matter the age, a career in the automotive industry is possible. “Shops and race teams are looking for qualified, skilled and passionate individuals,” said John Dodson, community/NASCAR team relations director at NASCAR Tech. “Those are the types of graduates we turn out, and they get the job done.” Sickler is talented and motivated, but notes that without the education he received at UTI and NASCAR Tech, he would not be where he is today. “You have to have an education in automotive technology to get into racing,” said Sickler. “It’s really competitive and hands-on experience is the differentiator race teams are looking for.” Sickler realizes how fortunate he is to be in this position and wants others to know that all things are possible. “Whatever you put into life you will get out of it,” he said. “If you work hard and believe in what you’re trying to accomplish, you can do it.” -UTI News Briefs
Seven Drivers Join Rev Racing For Full Seasons In The NASCAR K&N Pro Series And NASCAR Whelen All-American Series DAYTONA BEACH, FL (January 15, 2013) — Coming off the most successful season in the nine-year history of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, NASCAR and Rev Racing welcomed the 2013 NASCAR D4D class live on Google+ Hangout today – a group that will attempt to match the first series championship in the program’s history. “Four drivers selected from the NASCAR Drive For Diversity Combine will join three returning drivers to compete for Rev Racing in 2013,” said Max Siegel, Owner of Rev Racing. “With Kyle Larson capturing NASCAR D4D’s first title in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship as well as the series’ Sunoco Rookie of Year Award, the new class is in a position to continue the momentum and defend the 2013 title.” Bryan Ortiz, from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and Ryan Gifford, of Winchester, Tenn., will return to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Ortiz finished second to teammate Larson in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors last season and fifth in the standings. They will be joined by Daniel Suarez of Monterrey, Mexico, and Mackena Bell of Carson City, Nev. Suarez is coming off a third-place finish in Mexico’s NASCAR Toyota Series, while Bell drove in Rev Racing’s Late Model program last year. Annabeth Barnes from Hiddenite, N.C., and Jack Madrid from San Clemente, Calif., will pilot the Late Models for Rev Racing. While Devon Amos, from Rio Rancho, N.M., will compete for the team’s Legends program. “In 2012, the NASCAR Drive for Diversity initiative has strengthened its position as a leading driver development platform in our sport with outstanding finishes from many drivers, especially Kyle’s championship, which was a first for the program,” said Marcus Jadotte, NASCAR vice president of public affairs and multicultural development. “Clearly, the NASCAR D4D initiative and Rev Racing have raised the bar in preparing young drivers for success in our sport.” Seventeen hopefuls went through a three-day driver evaluation of on-track performances and physical fitness assessments to be considered for a spot in the 2013 D4D class. For the second-consecutive year, the D4D Combine was held at Langley Speedway, a .4-mile asphalt oval and NASCAR sanctioned track. While several of the drivers will compete in the UNOH Battle at the Beach at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 18-19, the full team will begin their season in March. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series drivers will make their series debut at the historic Hickory Motor Speedway March 9, while the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East drivers open their season on March 16 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Toyota and Toyota Racing Development will once again support Rev Racing and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program, with all drivers racing Toyota Camrys in 2013. Goodyear, Mobil 1, Sprint, NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI), 3M, Wix Filters, Mechanix Wear, iRacing, Castle, JRI Shocks, Impact, Playseat, Doghouse Systems, Logitech, and Sign Innovations also return to support Rev Racing and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program.