Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College students jumped in the Jeff Gordon No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet during the college’s Homecoming Week celebration, Oct. 6-10. Although the “race” was actually part of the experience of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Racing Simulator, the thrills for Jackson County Campus and Jefferson Davis Campus students were real.
Participants said they enjoyed the feel of the high speed turns and the sounds of the track. With wind in their faces and full on-screen instrumentation, students controlled their own races for five laps of actual drive time in the free simulation. Corey Walley, a JC Campus student from Hurley, waited for a half hour for the simulator to open. “I wanted to see how I would do at this, see if it was anything like the races I’ve been in,” he said. “I do some amateur racing and work on race cars. This was something fun to try though not as tough as the real races.”
The first participant to win first place in the simulator race at the Jefferson Davis Campus was Elizabeth Johnson of Gulfport. “It was really exciting, and you have to pay attention to what the other cars around you are doing,” she said. “It is really fast paced, and you have to make quick decisions. Staying off the wall and off other drivers is a real challenge.”
The simulator, offered by Motorsports by Kramer, combines hydraulic motion with computer controls for the feel of an actual race. The car that was used was actually driven by Gordon in a real NASCAR race.
Sonya Edwards, JC Campus Student Activities coordinator, said the JC and JD campuses planned several activities during Homecoming Week to get students excited about the game. “Since most of the actual Homecoming activities take place at the Perkinston Campus (in Stone County), we wanted to encourage team spirit on our campuses as well. We love to see our students get involved in campus and college-wide activities. I think it gives them a more well-rounded college experience.”