Female Naperville automotive students seek to set speed record
NAPERVILLE, Ill. - There are some female Naperville automotive students that are going for a speed record.
They have built what they hope will be the fastest truck in America, and they're heading to Texas this month to put it to the test.
"It's built by a high school girls team and that in itself isn't something you see every day. And we built everything on our own from scratch," said Naperville North senior Ivy Cain.
This is what success sounds like - a custom-built truck going 207 miles per hour in a Texas Mile. And this is the truck that the group of student’s hope will smoke that record.
"On the back we have a spoiler that's going to give us a little extra downforce," Cain said. "I just really enjoy the hands-on experience, it's not something I've found anywhere else in my life."
Cain is president of the Girls' Autosports Club at Naperville North. She along with her female classmates are headed to Beeville, Texas to compete in the fastest land speed race in the country.
"When I took this program a few years ago, we only had two or three young ladies in the entire program, and now we're at 15 to 20% female enrollment," said Greg Ditch, Naperville North’s automotive teacher.
Ditch has made it his mission to get more young women interested in the field.
"A lot of people think of cars as sort of a guy thing or male dominated industry where really, what I tell everybody is gender doesn't matter or race doesn't matter. There are so many other things that may be important anywhere else but in the automotive industry it doesn't matter," Ditch said.
His daughter, Alina, a college diesel industrial technology student, will be driving the truck, named "Lunch Money" at the big race.
"I love the challenge, I like fixing problems, I love finding a solution, it makes me very happy," said Alina Aubakarivoa.
The all-female crew took the truck, replaced the engine with a homemade V8 that uses nitrous oxide, swapped out the brakes with a larger, Corvette-style, and fashioned the front to be more aerodynamic. There's also a custom chassis and frame.
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It's the project of a lifetime for Naperville North sophomore Maddy Houck.
"Just being able to see a project come together, it's really satisfying," Houck said.
At 15-years-old, Houck isn't yet old enough to drive, but already knows she wants to work in the automotive industry.
They’re a group of girls who have already out-paced the boys, with no limits holding them back.
"I just want everything to go smooth and I’m sure we'll make the best out of it," Aubakarivoa said.
"They really have banded together as a team," Ditch said.
The Texas Mile takes off March 24.