Two Marian University Engineering Students Interning with Former Race Car Driver Al Unser Jr.’s Future Star Racing Program

by Glendal Jones | Jun 01, 2022

Future Star Racing helps race car drivers advance to the next level by supporting future racing stars who may not have the resources to succeed. Part of the winning team assisting those drivers are two Marian University engineering students Kim Graham ’23 and Ryan McIntyre ’24.

Graham is building her communications skills and assisting Norma Lawrence Unser, former race car driver Al Unser Jr.’s wife, manage the Future Star Racing suite for guests. “I've been learning about event management and fundraising as I’m learning so much about the importance of networking and speaking to sponsors, which is definitely an aspect that is often neglected when learning about engineering,” said Kim Graham ’23. The chemistry and engineering student added, “Being a double major at Marian and IUPUI, I have found that there have been many situations that I've had to multitask and learn a variety of subjects at the same time. Being able to adapt quickly to situations and try to come up with a solution is a major aspect of engineering.” 

Future Star Racing is former race car driver Al Unser Jr.’s pride and joy. His wife Norma Lawrence Unser heads their Wings and Wheels Foundation, which helps identify those drivers and pairs them up with racing professionals.

“We truly believe in hard work, dedication, and self-discipline,” said Norma Lawrence Unser. We’re excited to help racing’s next stars refine their track skills while also learning from racing professionals, she added.” “Including engineering students like Kim and Ryan with their fresh perspective and training, only helps strengthen our Future Star Racing team.”

Her husband, Al Unser Jr., wanted to make sure students learn first-hand, so he decided to collaborate with the E. S. Witchger School of Engineering so students like Kim and Ryan can put their learned coursework skills into action.

“It’s been a thrilling experience, especially working with the students and future racing stars,” he said. “It’s a rewarding experience for all of us.”

“Wow, is all I can say”, added Ryan McIntyre ’24. The applied physics and dual engineering student says the opportunity to prepare for and work at the Indianapolis 500 and learn from Al and Norma is priceless. “I’m seeing the reality of not only what I’ve learned in the classroom. Actually, applying it and getting hands-on instruction makes me excited about my future career path,” McIntyre concluded.

It’s those cherished experiences and partner relationships that open the door for other Marian engineering students explained Binh Tran, Ph.D., dean of the E. S. Witcher School of Engineering.

“I am extremely excited about this collaboration with Future Star Racing and the Wings & Wheels Foundation,” Tran said. “As I am learning how much motorsports are part of Indianapolis’ identity, I am eager for the E. S. Witchger School of Engineering to contribute to this exciting sport, especially since there’s so much engineering involved in racing. Our students will greatly benefit from this relationship with Future Star Racing. Norma and Al are fantastic to work with!”

For more information about Al Unser Jr.’s Future Star Racing and how you can support just click.

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