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ATDM Student Honored During NASCAR Race in Martinsville

Two men standing beside a racing car at Martinsville Speedway

ATDM students are driven to succeed in all things manufacturing. But even when they’re not training on campus, they can still live life in the fast lane at a nearby Southside Virginia staple, the Martinsville Speedway.  

Dustin Frantz, a CNC machining graduate, was honored as the Star Skilled Tradesperson at the NASCAR Cookout 400 race at the speedway this April. His name was displayed on RFK Racing’s #CarWithAMission Ford Mustang, also featuring and highlighting ATDM’s mission to supply more workers to the submarine industrial base.  

Frantz is a United States Marine Corps veteran who served in the Iraq conflict and worked as a unit armorer during his time in uniform. He’s had a passion for machining and robotics ever since, joining ATDM as a student in early 2024.  

“It was an amazing, mind-blowing experience. It was way more than I ever could have imagined or hoped for,” says Frantz. “We got to go down to the racetrack and into the pits, watch the driver’s meeting with the owner of Martinsville Speedway and got autographs from the drivers too. I had the time of my life.”

Frantz and other ATDM students including Jeremy Taylor and Madeline Eddy were able to meet racecar drivers and experience the roar of the engines on the racetrack up close.  

“It was my first time being at a NASCAR race, and it was really cool,” says Taylor, also a CNC machining student at ATDM. “It’s a great feeling being a part of it all. I’m thankful ATDM is getting the word out about these opportunities, and thankful that I get to be part of the defense industrial base myself.”

“Getting a close-up look at the track and in the pit was pretty special,” says Eddy, who is studying additive manufacturing in her cohort. “I enjoyed seeing the appreciation of the work we’re doing and going behind the scenes at NASCAR while making connections within the defense manufacturing industry.”  

ATDM trains workers in critical manufacturing skills to establish a steady and sustainable flow of workers into the submarine industrial base to fill critical skills gaps and labor shortages. America is still greatly in need of workers who can build and repair naval ships. Career paths include additive manufacturing, CNC machining, non-destructive testing, metrology and welding.  

Interested in learning more? Check out our classes and upcoming events.