Columbia College Chicago students design app components for NASCAR Street Race

In just two weeks, NASCAR’s Chicago Street Race will return to the Windy City.

While crews continue building the course in and around Grant Park, students at Columbia College Chicago have been building something of their own.

In January, NASCAR teamed up with Columbia College – enlisting a class to develop brand-new components for its ‘Tracks App.’

"It’s preparing to actually work in these careers and jobs and work within this industry to make real pieces that impact real humans," said Jo-Nell Sieren, an assistant professor with Columbia College Chicago – School of Design.

Over the course of 15 weeks – with guidance from Sieren – a team of 19 students researched, designed, and launched elements for the app.

During that time, they pitched prototypes, troubleshot, and revised their work – eventually developing interactive games and engaging activities for NASCAR fans of all ages.

"We had an activity book, a trivia game, and a reflex game," said Nancy Dumitru. "Good design may look effortless, but it's extremely intentional, and I think this project is just that."

The partnership has provided students with real-world design experience. After months of hard work, they have crossed the finish line – and their vision has come to life.

"As a capstone class, we were responsible for leading the team and making sure the project ran well," said Alua Amangeldikyzy. "It was definitely a dream of mine seeing people use the work that I did. We were 19 students, and we put so much work into this project. It was so surreal looking at people use our games and be competitive and actually be interested in what we did."

During Race Weekend, printed copies of the activity book students created will be handed out in the Kids Zone. Original coloring and activity pages can also be downloaded and printed at home.

To create their 15-question trivia game, students consulted with a NASCAR specialist.

Meanwhile, their reflex game allows users to test reaction times against some of the fastest drivers in the world.

"Being able to work with them and their students to create something that is so unique and really the first of a kind for NASCAR, that now lives in our app, it is something everybody can experience and be part of," said Julie Giese, president, NASCAR Chicago Street Race.

Fans don’t need to wait until Race Weekend to utilize the app. The NASCAR Tracks App is free to download and can be found HERE.

Once downloaded to your smart device, click on ‘Chicago Street Race’ and then ‘Games.’

Additional information about the collaboration between Columbia College Chicago and NASCAR can be found HERE