A lap around the track at nearly 70 miles an hour in his go-kart isn't just a practice run for Skylar Robinson. It's a science lesson.
And the tune-ups on his kart aren't merely just that. They're also engineering tutorials.
Robinson, 16, has big dreams to drive in major stock car races around the world, and after competing for only four years, he seems well on his way, with three national titles under his belt.
And that early success just adds to his desire to one day race with the big boys.
"It's a tremendous confidence booster," Skylar says. "It reassures the fact that I can do this and win and be competitive and run at the front, which you have to do if you want to move up to the professional ranks."
But Skylar isn't just focused on making an impact on the track. The young man already understands the importance of giving back to the community.
So he's taking his kart around the country, not for races, but into classrooms, showing the importance of math and science in everyday life to students.
For Skylar and his Six Simple Machines racing team, the kart could be the difference in a young student's interest in science and math.
"Kids might see this and be like, 'Wow, that's really cool. I want to do something like that,'" Skylar says. "They might one day become engineers."
The idea was developed by Skylar's father and coach, Chip, an accomplished racer himself, who also has a desire to elevate math and science education.
"The country is screaming for more engineers, and not just engineers, but more in any technology," Chip says. "We really need to make a resurgence as a country in that area."
And from that came the goal of developing a love of the subjects in students around the country.
"These kids might just need that one motivational factor," says Skylar. "So this is a great way to get it into their heads that engineering is cool, and you can do cool stuff with it."
"When we roll a go-kart into the classroom, we can say, 'Here's a lever,'" says Chip. "Now a lever is not very exciting in itself, but look what the levers can do on the go-kart. It makes us go fast. We can tune with it. It helps us win races. And it kind of brings a relevancy to some really basic principles that we hope will motivate students."
But soon, Skylar hopes to move on to big time racing circuits, meaning it will be time for his teammate, sixth grader Simon Sikes, to step into the classroom, a role he says he's more than ready for.
"I want to teach kids around the world how important science and math are to everyday life," he says. "That would be one of the main points of this sport."
For now though, Skylar will continue to dream big while giving back, something he says he won't forget when he makes it where he wants to go.
"It's important to give back to the community," Skylar says. "It's an important part of any career."
Friday, May 24 2013 10:51 PM EDT2013-05-25 02:51:03 GMT
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Ryan David Jones/Source: RCSO
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