If given the chance, NASCAR Champion Kyle Busch said he would have wanted to go to a school like the Palmetto Academy of Learning Motorsports in Conway.
The only problem? The school is open to only residents of Horry County. And the kids who go to that school are getting a brand new building that principal Avery Moore hopes will be ready in September.
PALM offers a high school diploma and the choice of one of four different vocational paths, including motorsports technology. The school bills itself as the only motorsports high school in the country.
“If given the chance, I would have gone to a school like that, knowing how much I enjoy racing and enjoy the motorsports background and everything that it’s all about,” Busch said Tuesday during a trip to Myrtle Beach.
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Busch was in town to promote the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Sept. 2. He started the day at Broadway Grand Prix, where he sped past some lucky fans on the go-cart track, and then headed over to PALM for the grand opening of the charter school’s new building.
“Those kids are really cool in going to that school and participating in one of the only magnet programs in the United States, probably, that revolves around racing,” Busch said. “It’s a big deal if you want to be in motorsports to go to a school like that and understand a lot more about the dynamics of what all goes into being successful at this level.”
The new building doesn’t look anything like a conventional high school, and the 30,000 square-foot structure features 10 bay doors for students to work on race cars, one of which Moore drives at Myrtle Beach Speedway on Saturdays.
“Obviously it’s really neat. It’s more about what goes on here rather than what the school looks like,” Busch said. “Maybe they don’t necessarily excel in school but they can excel here, get their education and take themselves a lot farther in life.”
And while NASCAR TV viewership is down, Busch cautioned against trying to force NASCAR on younger fans, and said it’s more important that young people find something they care about.
“I think schools like this are important,” Busch said. “I don’t think it’s necessarily important to NASCAR or anything, but it’s important for kids to have a passion that they’re into and that they can go get an education in.”
Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian