When Benjamin Driskell participated in the Lincoln Tech/Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (ASPM) Mentorship Program last year he dreamed of one day becoming a permanent part of the IndyCar team. That dream came true, and now Ben is excited to meet the students from Lincoln Tech who will be getting the same opportunity he had! Selected students from Lincoln’s Auto or Diesel Technology programs can become members of the ASPM race team for a weekend. They’ll take part in activities that include, access to the ASPM garage and pit, meetings with team engineers and mechanics, as well as the opportunity to meet driver James Hinchcliffe and team co-owner Sam Schmidt, plus help the team work on the #5 Arrow Electronics IndyCar.
Benjamin traveled to Fort Worth, TX last summer as an Automotive Technology student from Lincoln Tech’s Nashville campus. The Grand Prix at Texas Motor Speedway will be featured in the Mentorship Program again this year, and other races include the Grand Prix at Long Beach in Long Beach, CA; the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, IN; the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit, MI and the Pocono Grand Prix at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA.
A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience for a Motorsports Lover!
Benjamin recalls, “I loved my classes at Nashville and the people I met there, but the highlight of my training program was my weekend with the ASPM team. When I got selected, I was absolutely thrilled and stoked. Day 1 was a real learning experience. I spent a lot of that time trying to figure out ‘Is there a slot here that I can fit into? Is this something I can be doing later on in the future?’ Day 2, I came in feeling like I hadn’t done enough, so the very first thing I did was to walk up to the guy I’d been shadowing and say ‘Hey, put me to work’ and that’s exactly what he did. It was amazing — like nothing I’ve ever experienced.”
After the race, Benjamin went back to Nashville determined to return to ASPM as soon as he graduated. “I was offered an opportunity to come up here to tour the shop as part of the interview process. I said, ‘Name the time and date, I’ll be there.’ As soon as I was given a date, I bought the plane ticket and got a hotel. I was willing to do whatever I could to make it happen.”
Once he was hired, Benjamin started out in the parts area. “Then, I’ll work my way up to sub assembly, machine work, or body work. Wherever I feel comfortable. There’s also the opportunity to work on the IndyCar as well, because we build them here from the ground up. It feels great to work together with a team that has a common goal. It reminds me of my time in the Marine Corps, where we had group unity and cohesiveness. That’s what I feel here — a good camaraderie. I really enjoy that.”
Lincoln Tech is Hopeful This Will Become a Tradition
Benjamin is the second Lincoln Tech graduate to become part of the ASPM team. Lincoln Tech Indianapolis graduate Cole Jagger began his career with ASPM in 2015 as a Carbon Fiber Technician building wings for the racecars as well as being the Right Rear Technician for James Hinchcliffe’s pit crew. Cole worked with Benjamin last summer during the race in Texas, and they’re IndyCar teammates today!
“Ben was in our Mentorship Program last year,” explains Cole. “I got a chance to meet him at one of the races. He was really switched on, seemed like a good kid. He was able to get hired here at Arrow Schmidt Peterson. He’s working out well and I think he’s going to be really good in the long run.”
Who will be next to make the move from Lincoln Tech to ASPM? You never know where hands-on training can take you! For more information about Lincoln’s Automotive and Diesel Technology programs, reach out to a campus near you.