Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

IUPUI Motorsports Students Hennig and Parker Spending Busy Summer at the Track

July 18, 2014

Andrew Hennig (above); Colin Parker (below).

Andrew Hennig (above); Colin Parker (below).

Farmer City. IL – IUPUI Motorsports Engineering students Andrew Hennig and Colin Parker are spending a busy summer at the race tracks of the Midwest.
Hennig, a Motorsports Engineering junior, is traveling the circuit with the Illini Racing Series for midget racecars.  Driving a 900 pound machine powered by a 2.4 liter GM Ecotec engine, he competes on both paved and dirt oval short tracks.  This is his third year of racing, and his results so far have been the best of his short career.
But Hennig’s driving has some diversity to it as well. In addition to the front engine, rear-wheel-drive midget, he was one of IUPUI’s drivers at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Formula SAE (FSAE) competition held in Lincoln, Nebraska in June.  The car he drove there was a rear-engine formula car designed and built by IUPUI students, and the course he drove was a combination of both left and right turns, unlike the-left-turn-only ovals he runs with the midget.
But the two halves of Hennig’s race season merged this week during the races at the Dewitt County Fair in Farmer City, Illinois.  Struggling with the electronic control module (ECU) on his car, he placed a phone call back to the IUPUI Motorsports FSAE students working in IUPUI’s Stutz Motorsports Lab.  The team’s ace engine tuner, Zach Andrews was working in the lab and jumped to help.  Using technology unimaginable to racers of earlier generations, Hennig and Andrews exchanged data over the internet, allowing Andrews to upload a new engine setting from his computer in Indianapolis, to Hennig’s ECU in Farmer City.  
When the new tune information helped the car get running, Andrews grabbed three other FSAE students from the lab and jumped in a car for a quick two hour drive to Farmer City Speedway, where they proceeded to assist Hennig, and his father and grandfather, in the pits, making two more computer adjustments to the ECU as the evening went on.
The results proved the merits of cooperation between the two forms of racing, as Hennig achieved his second straight top-ten finish in the main event of the night.
Colin ParkerAt another race track, a state away, Colin Parker, a Motorsports Engineering sophomore, was crewing for one of the top sprint car drivers in the country, Dave Darland, at Lincoln Park Speedway, in Putnamville, Indiana.
Having raced 1000 cubic centimeter motorcycle engine mini-sprints himself for a number of years, Parker is spending this summer on the road with Darland’s 410 cubic inch United States Auto Club (USAC) sprint car.  Both the sprint car and mini-sprint race on dirt short tracks, but while Parker’s own driving efforts are restricted to Indiana, his crew job is taking him from California to Pennsylvania in pursuit of Darland’s second USAC national sprint car title.
Parker claims the experience is fantastic, letting him see how a top team and driver operate at the highest level at a wide variety of tracks.
Experiential learning such as this is vital to the education of up-and-coming motorsports engineers like Hennig and Parker as they train for careers in motorsports with the fastest moving program on campus.
For further information, contact Motorsports Engineering Director Pete Hylton at