Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Select IUPUI students will be busy gaining experience at Indianapolis 500, Indy 500 Festival Parade

May 7, 2014

Matt Kurdock, Motorsports Undergraduate at IUPUI and Intern for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports racing team

Matt Kurdock, Motorsports Undergraduate at IUPUI and Intern for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports racing team

Students from two IUPUI programs and departments are gaining practical experience in their respective fields this month as part of the Indianapolis 500 and the Indy 500 Festival Parade.

The parade, which began in 1957, is held on the eve of the Indianapolis 500. It is expected to draw 300,000 spectators from around the country to line the streets of Indianapolis.

Students from the Department of Tourism, Conventions and Event Management and the IUPUI motorsports engineering program are part of the festivities surrounding the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” and its associated events.

The students will play a special communications role in the 2014 IPL 500 Festival Parade in Indianapolis on May 24. Each student will be assigned to one of 10 public announcement stations along the parade route to pass information to and from the parade management control center.

Susie Benko, a lecturer in the Department of Tourism, Conventions and Event Management, said the students will be given a radio and instructed on how to use it. They also will be given a complete parade script that the station broadcasters use to announce the parade. The students will go to their assigned radio station, introduce themselves to the broadcasters and keep them apprised of any changes from the original script resulting from weather, injury or other issues.

IUPUI students have provided communication assistance to the parade since 2008.

Benko said students find the experience to be a valuable one.

“They see the level of coordination it takes to put on large events, including the staging, the lineup, and the importance of timing and communications, which is their role,” she said.

Motorsports engineering students are once again going behind the scenes of the Indianapolis 500, working for race teams and on the technical aspects of the race.

Last May, student Matt Kurdock spent his time making sure race teams toed the line on IndyCar racing rules as a technical inspector. This year, Kurdock will have a much different role as part of the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports racing team, which includes 1995 Indy 500 champion Jacques Villeneuve, who is returning to racing after nearly two decades.

Kurdock has already enjoying being an intern for Schmidt Peterson.

“It has been an excellent learning opportunity, and one where I can directly apply the engineering tools, methods, theory and techniques I learned in the (motorsports) program to engineering race cars competing at a top professional level,” Kurdock added.

The Schmidt Peterson racing team is utilizing motorsports students Chris Weyer and Kurdock on this year’s team.

Another motorsports student, Amanda Lund, is interning again for the Andretti Autosport team, headed by former Indy 500 driver Michael Andretti, the son of racing great Mario Andretti. She also will be overseeing another motorsports student intern, Liam Foreman.

In addition, three graduates from IUPUI's motorsports program are working for the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team, including Chase Kaufman, Justin Penix and Casey O’Gara.

Several motorsports students will help the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this month as technical inspectors, ensuring that all teams adhere to racing rules and specifications. They include C. J. Nielsen, who has had that role for several years, and Brent Butler, Kyle Compton, Matt Dayhuff and Nicole Stout.