on August 1, 2007 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

CU to roll with Earnhardt

CLEMSON — Ten years ago, NASCAR and academia would have been unlikely bedfellows. The times have changed.

On Wednesday, Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) inked a deal with Clemson University. The partnership will provide DEI with proprietary Clemson motorsports engineering. In return, DEI will fund an annual undergraduate scholarship honoring the memory of Dale Earnhardt Sr. for students with a passion for motorsports.

The announcement was made at a press conference inside Clemson’s Fluor Daniel Engineering Innovation Building. Clemson University President James Barker called the DEI partnership a “very important moment in our history.”

“We have been in conversation (with DEI) and talking about what collaborations make sense for quite some time,” Barker said. “We know we’ll be working together for our mutual benefit to advance knowledge, advance technology and ultimately advance innovation in U.S. motorsports, which is very much concentrated on the I-85 corridor between Atlanta and Charlotte. We happen to be the very center of that.”

According to Barker, Clemson-DEI commonality includes a focus on the Carolinas, commitment to collaboration and competitive instinct.

“We’re excited about what this partnership can mean for us,” Barker said.

DEI Chief Executive Officer Teresa Earnhardt was on hand to sign the Clemson agreement. She was key player in the 1980 inception of DEI. Teresa, the widow of the racing legend, pushed for the trademarking of Dale Sr.’s signature and likeness, and the creation of an extensive commercial licensing program — all NASCAR firsts.

“The work to create the relationship that formally begins today started more than a year and a half ago,” Earnhardt said. “I have no doubt that the work of Clemson University and Dale Earnhardt Inc. will produce remarkable results and years from now will be considered the model for how a racing organization and a research university can collaborate.”

The Dale Earnhardt Foundation will provide $13,000 annually for a total minimum pledge of $39,000 to establish a three-year undergraduate scholarship for a student in the College of Engineering and Science. In addition, students selected to receive the scholarship will be eligible for internships with DEI.

William Howard Bostic III — a rising senior majoring in mechanical engineering — was named the first recipient of the Dale Earnhardt Motorsports Scholarship. Bostic’s first memory of NASCAR is of watching Dale Earnhardt Sr. racing against Sterling Martin in the 1994 Daytona 500.

Said Bostic: “I you would have told me then I would be receiving a scholarship in the name of one of the greatest drivers of NASCAR — and one of the great pioneers of the sport — there is no way in the world I would have believed you.”

Clemson’s Carroll A. Campbell Jr. Graduate Engineering Center at the CU-ICAR (International Center for Automotive Research) campus in Greenville, S.C., offers the nation’s only master’s and doctoral graduate degree programs in automotive engineering and unique research and testing resources.