“NASCAR Meets NASA" was presented by LT Jesse Iwuji on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016.
Watch the video of LT. Jesse Iwuji and his NASCAR outside of Building 200, NASA Ames Research Center.
Abstract: From rockets to racecars, the similarities between NASA piloting and NASCAR driving are immense. NASCAR and NASA cross paths in many ways that many have not truly noticed. When considering aeronautics, safety, human factors and computing for example, there are parallels between aero design, in-cabin settings adjustments, vehicle safety equipment, pilot/driver personal protective equipment, radio communication and training. On the personal side, both astronauts and racecar drivers experience immense challenge and adversity, which is overcome by courage and fortitude. This presentation will examine and compare the sequence of an evolution for a driver from the beginning of race week until the end of a race with sequence of an evolution for a pilot from the beginning of their "flight week" to the end of their space travel. The personal journey from Navy to NASCAR to NASA will be shared.
Biography: At a young age, Dallas, TX native and Nigerian-American, Jesse Iwuji was interested and driven in the sporting world. Being a Texan, football naturally took its course in his life and landed him a full ride scholarship to one of the nation’s top universities, the US Naval Academy. There he played NCAA Division 1-A College football four years, graduated with a bachelors of science and was commissioned as a Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy. He is still currently active duty as an officer at Naval Post Graduate School and he has been on two Arabian Gulf deployments totaling out to 15 months of deployment time on two different naval ships. Outside of the Navy, Jesse has always had a passion in Motorsports. In 2013, he was featured in Hot Rod Magazine twice for 200+ MPH and world record accomplishments in the Modern HEMI drag racing world and was on the cover of MoparMax magazine. He also began his road course racing ventures doing open track days and became a SCCA member. 2015 was Jesse's first official stockcar racing season and he began it in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Irwindale Speedway. From late model stockcars, he transitioned toward the end of 2015 into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series where he is now competing in his rookie 2016 season for Patriot Motorsports Group and ranked 10th of nearly 60 drivers. Jesse also is involved in advocacy and outreach, supporting charitable events and organizations.