Racing and winning are in Madison Conrad’s blood. Those forces drive her.
A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Conrad’s grandfather and father both raced. Five-year-old Conrad raced Hot Wheels at the racetrack while her father competed at Duke City, Hollywood and Sandia speedways.
Her love of the sport grew with her.
Conrad, now a senior at NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, recently received the Roger Penske Outstanding Student Award, the latest notch in an award-studded history of achievements.
At 14, Conrad raced a stock car she built with her dad and grandfather. It had a worked over, small block 350 engine, and she worked on it before every race and during the offseason. Her obsession with making it the best would lead from racing cars to perfecting them.
Though she prefers working on cars, Conrad is a champion racer. She was awarded Rookie of the Year in recognition of being an up-and-comer and Ironman for being the driver who performed the best on both asphalt and dirt.
Conrad says her most difficult and rewarding accolade was winning a points championship following an eight-month-long season. She beat out 27 other drivers for the championship.
After moving to Mooresville to attend NTI, Conrad continued to excel academically and in her career. Maintaining a 4.0 GPA, she served as president of the student council and won numerous other honors in the curriculum.
Conrad is a fierce competitor, but she also enjoys enabling others to compete.
“I try to help other students by staying late or coming in early, because I’ve been helped along my journey,” said Conrad. “It’s also very rewarding to assist a fellow student and have them improve and become more confident in a subject they weren’t comfortable with previously.”
Conrad said she had too many mentors to pick one. She named her instructors at NTI and coworkers at Roush Yates, where she interns, as people she looks up to.
“There have been numerous occasions where I’ve learned something in class and asked people at work how it applies to today’s race engines,” said Conrad.
She will graduate in February and start pursuing a full career. She said she misses her family and the delicious Mexican food in Albuquerque, but she enjoys being in North Carolina because of its rich racing history and central role in the sport.
“I’ll go full-time at Roush Yates Engines and be on track to become a trackside engine tuner,” said Conrad. “That includes going through teardown, subassembly and dyno. I would love to work my way up to a crew chief or car chief position.”
Conrad said it can be difficult balancing school, work and assisting others, but she finds it fulfilling.
“The main thing that keeps me motivated is the fact that I’m succeeding in something that people thought I couldn’t do,” said Conrad. “I’m strongly motivated by winning and being the best, which is something I strive to do every day.”
ABOUT THE AWARD
The TechForce Foundation Roger Penske Outstanding Student Award grants $8,500 in funding to one exceptional Universal Technical Institute (UTI) student nearing graduation, provided they have completed 52 weeks of core curriculum in auto and/or diesel, electives and/or manufacturer-specific advanced training.
Students honored with the award must display high academic achievement, a record as a team player and serve as a role model to fellow students.
“Madison’s commitment to excellence and passion for helping her fellow students illustrate why she is a worthy recipient of this award,” said Jennifer Maher, CEO and executive director of TechForce Foundation.
Published by Statesville Record & Landmark
Written by James Neal