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AST Students Tour Petty’s Garage Facilities

NASCAR legend Richard Petty presents PCC Automotive Systems Technology students and instructors with a $5,000-Petty’s Garage Scholarship donation that will fund future automotive scholarships at the college.

WINTERVILLE—A group of second-year Pitt Community College Automotive Systems Technology (AST) students traveled to Randleman last month to assist with the 5th Annual Petty’s Garage Car Show and meet with NASCAR legend Richard Petty.

According to Norman Lilley, PCC AST Department chair, the visit was part of an agreement the college signed three years ago to become an “educational affiliate” of Petty’s Garage, a high-performance speed shop the Hall-of-Fame driver created in 2008.

Lilley says the Petty partnership has been a benefit to the AST program. In addition to increasing student interest in automotive service careers, he said it has led to unique educational opportunities for his students, including a project to restore the car Petty drove to Victory Lane in the 1981 Daytona 500 and an internship for three of his students and an instructor.

At the car show, which featured approximately 60 cars of various makes and models, the PCC contingent helped determine the winner of a special, student-judged trophy. They also toured Petty’s race car museum and the Petty’s Garage facility, which previously housed Petty’s racing facility for more than 60 years.

Perhaps the best part of the trip, though, was the opportunity for students to pose for pictures with Petty and get autographs from NASCAR’s all-time winningest driver.

“Richard Petty is a very nice man, and he just has a way of making you feel comfortable when you’re around him,” Lilley said.

Students said they were delighted when Petty insisted on being the one to present a $1,000-Petty’s Garage Scholarship to Phillip Alligood, a second-year PCC automotive student from Washington. The money will go toward Alligood’s educational expenses.

But “The King,” as Petty is known to legions of NASCAR fans, didn’t stop with just one check presentation. He also presented the PCC group with a $5,000-check on behalf of Petty’s Garage, which Lilley said would fund future automotive scholarships at Pitt.

PCC Vice President of Institutional Advancement Susan Nobles said that in addition to the Petty’s Garage Scholarship, the Petty family has long supported PCC students through generous donations to the PCC Foundation’s annual scholarship auction. She added that Richard Petty Motorsports CEO Brian Moffitt is a 1994 Pitt graduate.