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IndyCar's Dalton Kellett on the Importance of STEM Education

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Dalton Kellett drives the No.4 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet at the Acura Grand Prix in Long Beach.

Dalton Kellett drives the No.4 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet at the Acura Grand Prix in Long Beach.
Photo: Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment

For driver Dalton Kellett Indycar’s No. 4 AJ Foyt A racing Chevrolet and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) interest long predates his desire to become a race car driver.

“I started racing officially when I was about 13 when I started racing karts,” Kellett said in a recent interview with Jalopnik. I think I always wanted to be an engineer, a scientist, or something along those dad went to queens [University in Ontario] for engineering. My grandfather developed some of the early K-Line products. We were definitely an engineering family. Then when I started racing they were combined. “

So, following in the family’s footsteps was not a difficult choice. Kellett also attended Queen’s University and earned a degree in Engineering Physics. During his studies, he opened his wheels in his series feeder for IndyCar, began his racing career in earnest, and filled his spare time by participating in his SAE program in college’s Formula . wheel car. FSAE has long been a proving ground for students interested in pursuing a career in engineering, for better or for worse, thanks to the fact that classroom concepts can be readily applied to real-world applications. I came.

“[FSAE] It was a great opportunity to learn mechanical design and vehicle dynamics,” says Kellett. “Being able to work on a real project with budgets, manufacturing constraints, schedules and deadlines is not a very good thing.”

During his four years in college, Kellett was on the Queens FSAE team, eventually being promoted to Technical Director along with another student as he neared graduation. It wasn’t easy, he admitted. 4th year is too much. “

Nevertheless, the experience gave him a new appreciation for the complex engineering tasks required to build a race car. If Kellett was able to implement his classroom knowledge into his FSAE cars, he was able to implement his FSAE experience into his racing career.

“When I see [open-wheel] Now you can look at the suspension and the overall design of the car and understand some of the work that the engineers did to get to the final product,” said Kellett. “But our engineering and Formula SAE experience really helps when we think about our off-season test plans, which is what we focus on. I think I applied it to what I wanted to work on from a perspective, and I think it helps.”

Kellett is now helping pay for it. He has partnered with multiple of his STEM organizations, including the International STEM Network, to reach out to young students. At the beginning of the season, he regularly organizes his tours of the classroom garage and visits schools to show children on-board footage of his Indycar, helmet and steering his wheels, helping to promote STEM education. Start getting kids excited about the different ways they can contribute to an inspiring society. career.

As kids get older, or perhaps if they’re already showing interest in STEM, Kellett takes a different route. They were lukewarm about it when I showed them things that would normally interest people, things like cool onboards and race highlights.

“But when I started saying, ‘Hey, here’s how to use what you learned in trigonometry and chemistry and racing classes,’ I was able to get more involved.”

STEM and motorsport have always gone hand in hand, but for Kellett both are the result of deep personal investments and interests that define his life. Combining both allowed him to pursue yet another passion. To open up his STEM fields to kids like Kellett. Kellett grew up playing with Legos and tinkering with machines, but he may not have realized it could be a career.