DURHAM. N. H – Sitting in the Memorial Union Building at the University of New Hampshire, Jacob Dore looks like all the other students studying between classes. His books are spread out on a table; there’s a calculator within reach. Seemingly, he’s your average 20-year-old college kid.
But on most weekends from now through October, the UNH sophomore shifts gears. Literally. Dore, of Sanford, Maine, is a race car driver. From 2005 to 2007, he drove Legends, cars modeled after American automobiles from the 1930s and 1940s built to a five-eighths scale.
Since 2008, he’s been competing in the modified racing series, the name being a reference to the modified passenger cars the racers drive. He was named Rookie of the Year in Maine in 2009.
When he talks about racing, he says ‘we’—“we finished second; we went through 10 tires.’” He’s referring to his family; his racing team. His father’s interest in race cars –“He was always working on them”—spurred Dore’s interest in the sport. His mother, despite being nervous of the up-to-150 miles per hour speed—has always been supportive.
“I say ‘we’ because I think of us as a team because there are so many people involved in me being able to race. But when I crash, they say, ‘You crashed,’” Dore says, adding there are times when he has crashed “a little more often that I should.”
“A hundred laps is a lot to do,” Dore says. “A lot of things can go wrong. You’re going a hundred miles an hour, inches from each other. You can have your tires ripped right off the car. People might think you just get in and go around the track but there’s a lot more than that going on.”
And yet, the mechanical engineering major considers racing a safe sport. He has all the safety equipment used in NASCAR racing.
His tire bill is $10,000 a year. He estimates he’ll go through 70 this racing season. Balanced against the purse--$2,000 if he wins; $500 to start--and the number of races he does annually, it’s clear Dore isn’t in it for the money.
“It’s an expensive hobby,” Dore says. “But I do it because I really enjoy it. I hope it’s something I’ll always be able to do.”
The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.
Photos available to download at http://www.unh.edu/news/cj_nr/2010/apr/jr15racecar_01.jpg
Caption: UNH sophomore Jacob Dore is his race car. Courtesy photos.
Reporters and editors: Jacob Dore is available for comment. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-432-0190.