SPARTA, Ky. - Owen Co. (Ky.) High School senior Dacota P., will have his artistic concept featured on the cover of this year's magazine-style Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts souvenir program after winning our first Racing to Excellence graphic art contest.

Racing to Excellence is an original speedway program founded in 2012 to motivate teachers and students to achieve excellence in the classroom through the technology and visual pageantry that makes up one of the most sophisticated sports today - stock car racing.  

The race-based educational initiative is made up of components through which elementary and high school educators are able create criteria to reward student achievement; enlighten through NASA-created science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) lessons; and provide students chances to be part of a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team during our July 9 UNOH 225 race day by entering an essay contest. 

Dacota's artistic work was chosen from more than 50 entries and he worked with speedway designer Brad Allnutt to develop the cover concept for our fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.    

The emerging high school designer began developing his skills during his elementary school years with encouragement from a friend.

"During middle school, I was always trying to do what my classmate, Jeremy, was doing. Over the past summers, looking at YouTube videos and books, it just kind of happened," Dacota said.

He approaches projects with an open mind while implementing style elements from his favorite artists, Todd Nauck and Christopher Hart.

"I usually start with a shape and designs come to me," Dacota said.

The souvenir program art is his first NASCAR-related work. A chance to work with the visual aspects and colors inherent to NASCAR events attracted him to our contest. 

"I liked the idea of having a lot of action in the design, showing the cars moving through the track and recognizing the recent winners," he said.

Dacota also credits his contest victory to his parents, who encouraged him to enter. 

Now that his creation will become a keepsake for tens of thousands of our Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts guests, he's beginning to appreciate the magnitude of his achievement.

"It's a little hard to take in," he concluded.

Souvenir programs, which also will feature additional student contest entries, will be available on our concourse throughout our July event weekend.

Learn more about Racing to Excellence by visiting our website: http://bit.ly/R2E15.

- Kentucky Speedway -