BROWNSBURG, Ind. (July 15, 2013) – Two students from Western Technical College in El Paso, Texas, will live 300-mph dreams that thousands of other vocational students would trade part of their summer vacation for.
Nine-year U.S. Army veteran Kody Throop, 27, and Joshua Lerma, 23, will work as interns for 11-time NHRA world champion Don Schumacher Racing when the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series competes at Denver, near San Francisco and Seattle between July 19 and Aug. 4.
Throop will assist on the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster driven by seven-time NHRA world champion Tony Schumacher, while Lerma will work with the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster driven by reigning champion Antron Brown.
Brown and DSR were introduced to Western Technical College by their longtime primary sponsor Matco Tools, which has a long relationship of supporting WTC. Matco Tools is the official mobile tool distributor of DSR.
Brown and his crew believe Matco’s professional, quality tools contributed to their success in winning the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel world championship. Western Technical College uses Matco Tools because instructors believe in using tools they can trust that will help their students succeed.
“Western Technical College has been an annual stop for Antron Brown and the Matco Tools Top Fuel team for many years,” DSR Senior Vice President Mike Lewis said. “We have been very impressed by the quality of facilities and training at Western Tech and by the warm reception to Antron and the Matco team. This internship is a great extension of the DSR/Matco relationship with Western Tech. Having Kody, a nine-year Army veteran, on the Army team and Joshua on the Matco team will give the teams a boost and provide both interns a hands-on experience with the two leading Top Fuel teams in the sport of NHRA racing.”
Throop, a native of Soldotna, Alaska, is an Automotive major at the El Paso, Texas-based Western Technical College and is scheduled to graduate in October.
Lerma, from San Bernadino, Calif., will graduate from Western Tech’s Performance Tuning division on July 17.
“We are very proud that two of our top students have been given this outstanding internship opportunity with DSR,” said Jack Werner, director for the Automotive, Performance and Diesel Programs at Western Technical College. “To be on the road with the NHRA Top Fuel championship teams of DSR is a dream come true for Kody and Joshua.
“This is truly a once in a lifetime experience to work side-by-side with the crew chiefs and team members of the U.S Army and Matco Tools teams and use the best tools in the business, Matco Tools.
“The Western Swing internship program was made possible in part because of our longstanding relationship with Matco Tools, which is the official tool of Western Technical College and DSR. Antron visits Western Tech each year and we appreciate our partnership with Matco and Antron. Kody and Joshua will gain valuable experience and insight on the internal workings of a professional race team. They both look forward to the challenge with the ultimate goal to join one of the teams full time should the opportunity be presented to them.”
The Western Swing begins July 19, 2013, with the 34th annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway near Denver. Brown and DSR teammate “Fast Jack” Beckman doubled-up to win Top Fuel and Funny Car titles at the Mile-High Nationals last July. Both Schumacher (2008) and Brown (’09) are two of just seven drivers in NHRA history to have swept the trio of demanding NHRA races on the Swing.