As a race car enthusiast, Paul Geniole Jr. has big plans for the future – but the dream he’s living out right now is pretty fabulous.
Geniole, 21, not only spent the summer working with a company that builds race cars as his co-op placement for the Mechanical Engineering Technology – Automotive Manufacturing program he takes at Georgian College, he’s also been driving every Saturday night at Sunset Speedway in Innisfil – and winning!
He’s always had an interest in cars. His grandfather painted cars – Geniole’s father and grandfather became great NASCAR fans together. His father ended up in straight line racing. Even as a young child, Geniole remembers helping out whenever his dad was tinkering with a car in the garage. At the age of 15, Geniole and his father were at Sunset Speedway testing a car that they owned together. His father took it out for a spin. When he came back, he suggested his son get behind the wheel.
“I’d never driven before. He told me to take it real easy,” Geniole laughed. “When I came back, I’d beat Dad’s time. He took one look at me and said, ‘Well, I guess you’ll be the one driving.’ That was a great day!”
Geniole was bitten hard by the racing bug. From their home in Keswick, he worked diligently with his father on cars. He started racing a Honda Civic four-cylinder. The following year, they moved into the next class up – Thunder Car Super Stock. The father-and-son team found themselves getting more and more interested in the science behind building race cars. They took a trip to North Carolina to talk to owners of NASCAR shops and take tours of the best facilities.
They brought back enough information to re-build their own car for the Super Stock class – a 1969 Camaro with a V8 engine.
“There’s so much science behind it, it’s ridiculous. We built every bit of it. We took the bare chassis and used all the measurements we came back with to make the best car we could, while staying within the rules,” he said.
The first year, they finished seventh, the next year fifth. By August this year, they were in third place and they are holding strong in that position in mid-September. Now back in his second year of classes at the Barrie Campus, Geniole will continue racing at Sunset Speedway until the season finishes at the end of September…”or until I crash the car and wreck it,” he jokes.
This past summer, he worked from Monday to Friday at McColl Racing in London, coming home to race every weekend. This is how he spent his first-year co-op term in Georgian’s Automotive Manufacturing
program. The company not only builds cars that race at Sunset Speedway, it also sponsors the track.
“It’s a great co-op. It’s taught me a lot and really shows me what I’m learning at college is tied in well with what’s going on in the real world,” he said
The three-year program is offered at the Barrie Campus. The core emphasis is automotive mechanical systems, supported by learning about quality optimization, up-to-date automotive parts production, manufacturing and assembly methods. The standards of the automotive industry are emphasized. Geniole’s practical experience with race cars is a bonus, as the program applies the principles of mathematics, physics and the engineering sciences to solving technical problems.
The combination of the Georgian program, learning about building cars first-hand during his co-op, partnering with his father, and hitting the track at Sunset Speedway his opened Geniole’s eyes to a whole world of career possibilities. He’d love to operate his own race and fabrication shop.
“But I really want to race. . .my dream is to drive for a living. To be in a NASCAR cup series would be my ultimate dream – but just to drive – it’s the best thing I can imagine.”