Matthew Kyle Butts, a senior at Northwest High School in Clarksville, TN, has been fascinated by cars since before he could walk.
“My father has taught me everything I know since I was a toddler playing with my 300 Hot Wheels in the sandbox,” said Butts. “He owned a car restoration shop where he rebuilt muscle cars and hot rods. My goal is to be just like him to eventually own my own auto restoration and fabrication shop.”
To go from Hot Wheels to hot rods, Butts knew he needed a good automotive education to fulfill his career ambitions. Thus began the search for the right automotive training school.
After visiting numerous schools, it wasn’t until a visit to the NASCAR Technical Institute campus in Mooresville, NC, did the realization hit.
“When my parents and I walked into NASCAR Tech, I said ‘wow,’ this is the school for me,” Butts recounted.
Butts began researching scholarship information and came across an application for the UTI Foundation /NASCAR Angels Scholarship.
Last fall, the UTI Foundation, in conjunction with the NASCAR Angels television program, teamed up to educate viewers about the school and careers in the automotive industry. Aspiring students were asked to submit a video application for the chance to earn $25,000 toward any program at NASCAR Technical Institute.
“I downloaded the scholarship application off of the UTI website,” said Butts. “I got creative and just took a chance.”
Butt’s video submission, which featured the completely restored Camaro he bought at age 14 along with parts he fabricated on his own, was impressive.
“It took me three years to restore it,” Butts said. “New transmission, all new body work, paint and interior.”
Butts’ hard work did not go unnoticed. In January, he was selected as the winner of the $25,000 scholarship.
Along with volunteering as the football videographer for a high school nearby in Kentucky, Matthew has been known to fix many of the coaches’ cars.
NASCAR Angels, NASCAR’s first nationally syndicated television show, gives deserving individuals across the country a transportation fix and encourages motorists to take better care of their vehicles. Hosted by former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion and current ABC/ESPN broadcaster Rusty Wallace and NASCAR.COM talent Shannon Wiseman, NASCAR Angels reaches more than 90% of the country’s viewing audience and airs during weekends on more than 200 local broadcast stations and every Sunday at 8:00 a.m. on the Hallmark Channel.
Goodyear Gemini, a national automotive repair service provider, is the presenting sponsor of the show. Using the automotive products of NASCAR Performance partners, Goodyear Gemini technicians work to complete repairs on each vehicle. While performing repairs on the cars, the technicians also educate viewers on the importance of regular vehicle maintenance.
Now in its third season of production, NASCAR Angels is produced in partnership by NASCAR and MagicDust Television and is distributed nationally by Litton Entertainment. In addition to Goodyear Gemini, the show’s sponsor lineup includes NASCAR Technical Institute and Exide Technologies.
The UTI Foundation, a 501(c)(3) Arizona nonprofit, is the umbrella organization for all Universal Technical Institute, Inc. not-for-profit initiatives and is dedicated to raising funds to further its mission and strategic goals.
The UTI Foundation supports technical education for the automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle, marine and NASCAR industries through scholarships, grants, career development and other special programs.
“Matthew demonstrates the initiative and drive the automotive industry prides itself on,” said NASCAR Angels co-host Rusty Wallace.
The scholarship will allow Butts the opportunity to receive formal training in automotive education through a top-notch program at NASCAR Tech.
“This scholarship will give Matthew the training and education he needs to make his dreams come true,” said Veronica Meury, vice president and executive director of the UTI Foundation.
Following his high school graduation in May, Butts will begin classes at NASCAR Technical Institute on June 22.
Indeed, he’s come a long way since the sandbox.
Roger Penske Funds UTI Scholarship
Kenneth Mazurczak, who attends Universal Technical Institute Sacramento, has been selected as the first Roger Penske “Outstanding Student” recipient. Mazurczak will receive a $12,000 cash award to repay education debt or buy tools. “To have my hard work recognized by Roger Penske is a dream come true, and this award will ease the financial sacrifices my family has made for me to learn a new profession,” said Mazurczak, “Mr. Penske’s support and the patience of my teachers have given me a jump start on my career.”
Roger Penske donated $100,000 to create the outstanding student awards for individuals approaching graduation who have demonstrated excellent academic achievement and are recognized as consummate team-players by fellow students and instructors at Universal Technical Institute, Inc.
“Roger Penske recognizes excellence and is dedicated to helping people succeed,” said Veronica Meury, vice president and executive director of UTI Foundation. “His personal contribution will help deserving students follow their passion to pursue successful careers, and help others follow in their footsteps.”
Students who fit the criteria, complete the application and gain the endorsement of an instructor are encouraged to self-nominate for the award.
“Universal Technical Institute recruits and trains exceptional people, and these graduates are in high demand in the automobile and diesel service industry,” said Roger Penske, chairman of Penske Corporation. “It is my hope these awards will encourage students to do their best, aim higher and be willing to assist others.”