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Iowa native Brett Moffitt returns to teach kids about speed

Published: Monday, July 24, 2017 10:13 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, July 24, 2017 10:38 a.m. CDT
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(David Dolmage/Daily News)
Nascar driver Brett Moffitt, an Iowa native, places cars built by summer campers on a racetrack at Westwood Elementary in Ankeny on Thursday.

For Brett Moffitt, there really is no place like home. Moffit, a Grimes native and NASCAR Xfinity Series driver, was back in Iowa Thursday to meet with kids in Ankeny and check out the racecars that they’ve been building.

The program, part of the Ankeny Adventures Summer Camp, is designed to teach kids about STEM, while also demonstrating the real application of those skills.

STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is part of an initiative to increase those skills in students and to give them a competitive edge. Nancy Jeffs, the director of Ankeny’s before and after school programs, said that helping students find fun ways to build their STEM skills is part of what the Ankeny Adventures Summer Camp is all about.

“We try to focus on enrichment labs that are hands on and fun,”Jeffs said. “We want to connect to their regular life and school activities.”

This is the second year that participants in the camp have had a chance to interact with NASCAR. Last year campers took a field trip to the Iowa Speedway, and this year, after learning about friction, they designed and built their own racecars to test them on a track provided by the Speedway.

Jeffs said that having Moffitt in attendance was the icing on the cake for students. For Jeffs, giving students a chance to get up close and personal with a fellow Iowan who’s chasing his dreams was a way to show students that anything is possible.

“Kids see NASCAR on television, and they might think ‘I can’t do that’, so it’s really great to have a local guy here,” Jeffs said. “He grew up just like us, and look where he is now.”

For Moffitt, who got his start in racing running go karts when he was close to the same age as many of the kids in the program, it represented a chance to give back to the community. On Thursday, Moffitt saw the same “light bulb moment” in the campers that he remembered experiencing as a kid when he and his father were racing go-karts in Jamaica, Iowa.

“It makes my day better to come here and see these kids building race cars,” Moffit said. “Just to have a chance to give back to the community that’s supported me so much is great.”

Moffitt also announced on Thursday he has secured a ride in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race this weekend in Newton, behind the wheel of the #96 GMS Racing Chevrolet Camaro. For Moffitt, who’s been looking for a ride since Red Horse Racing closed up shop in February of this year, the chance to come home and compete in front of family and friends was irresistible.

“It feels great,” Moffitt said. “To be back in my home state, that means a lot, and it feels good to be back racing.”

While this is a one-shot deal designed to pair Moffitt and local sponsors to bring him back to his home track, Iowa Speedway, Moffitt is hoping that this opportunity will be just what needs to jumpstart his career.

“I’m going to try to win, and hopefully open some doors,” Moffitt said.

Contact David Dolmage at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or ddolmage@newtondailynews.com

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