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VIR winner to take home a prize fashioned in Halifax County

South Boston News / August 18, 2014

As Virginia International Raceway prepares to welcome the Grand Prix/TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series this weekend, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center has been busy with a related project — fashioning the trophy to present to the winner.

A team with the SVHEC’s R&D Center for Advanced Manufacturing & Energy Efficiency (R&D CAMEE) has come up with a design for the trophy that evokes the Alton track’s history and unique features.

After kicking around a number of ideas, the R&D team decided “what’s more symbolic of VIR than the track itself?”

Using sophisticated Siemens NX Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, the R&D team, led by director David Kenealy, converted a topographical map of the track into a 3-D drawing. Using 3- and 5-axis CNC routers and a water jet router, the team machine-cut a replica of the track.

The replica, which is made of aluminum, includes the changes in elevation that make VIR one of the country’s premier road courses. The replica is the head of the trophy.

The shaft and base were carefully crafted out of solid white oak, symbolizing VIR’s iconic oak tree that fell July 2, 2103. As a final touch, the staff used their laser engraving capabilities to engrave the tiered base with the event name and date.

With the VIR trophy, R&D CAMEE embraced the theme, “A personal victory deserves a custom trophy.” The team’s goal was to design a piece that would not only invoke pride for the winner, but also instantly take him back to the track to where it all began.

Now it is hoped that the trophy will become a tradition at VIR — a custom prize heavily sought after and hard-won by drivers for many years to come.

The Center has also built the Martinsville clock, the award for the winner of the Martinsville Speedway championship race.

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That thing is butt ugly.

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