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Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Racing into the Future

October 24, 2013

Matt Mote, Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI

Matt Mote, Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI

By Ric Burrous

Ever since he had his Hot Wheels vehicles as a youngster, Matt Mote has found himself entranced by the racing world.

But where most young race fans find themselves relegated to the sidelines, Mote has plunged headfirst into that world, thanks to the IUPUI Motorsports Program in the School of Engineering and Technology.

Mote has been part of the IUPUI’s Purdue Grand Prix go-kart team. He spent a summer interning for the IndyCar Racing League, traveling across the nation to help officiate races. He has helped run the program’s special events. He credits Terri Talbert-Hatch of the school, plus the rest of his Motorsports family, for the possibilities offered to him.

“I can’t believe that I’m the one getting all these opportunities,” said Mote. “I really don’t know why I’m the one being chosen, but I plan to take full advantage of them!”

One such opportunity was working the 2013 Indianapolis 500, which “an awesome experience” for Mote, though he was (and still is) a diehard NASCAR fan with a fondness for Hoosier native Jeff Gordon.

The IUPUI sophomore admitted that he had moments when he was tempted to be more fan than race official. “It was really cool walking around the grounds and seeing little kids hanging on the fence, because it wasn’t that long ago that I was one of those kids,” Mote chuckled, recalling his family support, especially from his grandfather, Bob Mote, also of Hope.

Mote’s passion for racing began in his elementary school days “when I got into driving go-karts myself,” he said. “It started out as a hobby, but I learned more than you could put a price tag on.”

The learning has accelerated in the Motorsports Program. “I came up here my junior year at high school, and was amazed at how big and exciting the program is,” Mote said. The biggest impression came from Motorsports Day — an event he headed up last month. “That was probably kind of fitting,” Mote laughed.

He also had a chance to join fellow Motorsports student Stephanie Borchelt in North Carolina, where she showed him around the Hendrick Motorsports team operation that was her internship for many months.

“Stephanie is one of my biggest mentors,” Mote said. “To see where she worked and what she did, and for my favorite racing team, was very cool!”

Mote would like to test himself as a crew chief in a racing operation. “I would enjoy being a crew chief more than driving now,” he said. “When you’re behind the scenes, you have to listen to all kinds of ideas, then put them all together in a way that works.”

His experiences last summer as a track official helped expand his horizons, but Mote is sure he would enjoy working with a team this next summer. “I’d like to have more say in the outcome of a race,” he said. “That’s something I’d like to learn.”