PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Anthony Martin has been teaching Philly kids about car racing for 23 years.
He is the founder and executive director of the Urban Youth Racing School in Philadelphia, which exposes young people of color to career opportunities in a billion-dollar industry they may not have considered before: NASCAR.
“I didn’t know that you can make $150,000 changing tires on a NASCAR team. I didn’t know that. Well, guess what? Students in the hood have no idea,” said Martin. “But when they come in and find out about it — ‘Whoa, wait a minute, I never knew that.’
“Engineering and science careers, which are high-paying jobs, is where we are today in America.”
It’s all about offering education, developing talent and providing access, Martin said. His real passion is seeing his students get involved in STEM careers.
“One of my students is a major executive at NASCAR now, who has been international racing for them. To actually see that, there’s nothing more powerful.”
Recently, pro racer Kyle Larson donated $100,000 to the school. Larson had come under fire for using the N-word on a racing live stream, but Martin and his co-founder and wife, Michelle, reached out to him and gave him a second chance in the industry.
Martin takes pride in knowing that he has a hand in the careers of future engineers, racers and technicians.
“The thing that really, really, really warms my heart: When I see one of my students walk down that aisle, get his degree — he or she,” he noted. “They go and get hired by Boeing or … whoever it might be.”
During Black History Month, KYW Newsradio’s GameChangers honors 10 individuals or organizations that have made a significant, positive impact in communities of color in the greater Philadelphia region. KYW community affairs reporter Racquel Williams will host an evening honoring this year’s awardees on Feb. 24. View a full list of 2022 honorees below.