Clemson announces new Kulwicki Endowed Chair in Motorsports and - FOX Carolina 21

Clemson announces new Kulwicki Endowed Chair in Motorsports and future projects

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Robert Prucka (Source: Clemson University) Robert Prucka (Source: Clemson University)
(Source: Clemson University) (Source: Clemson University)
CLEMSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Clemson University announced that Robert Prucka, a member of the automotive engineering faculty since 2008, is the new Kulwicki Endowed Chair in Motorsports, a new position at Clemson University.

This position was named after NASCAR driver and Prucka’s childhood hero, Alan Kulwicki, who died in a plane crash. This Saturday will be the 24th anniversary of that crash, according to a news release from the University.

Kulwicki and three others died on 1993 when a small plane crashed in Tennessee. The elder Brooks, a Clemson alumnus, later provided the funds that allowed the university to establish the Kulwicki Endowed Chair and what is now called the Brooks institute for Sports Science.

 “It’s awesome, and it’s humbling,” Prucka said in the news release. “It’s a big responsibility to carry on his spirit. He left big shoes to fill.”

Prucka has received several honors, including SAE International’s Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award and the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences’ Murray Stokely Award for Outstanding Teaching.

Clemson stated Prucka’s first project will consist in guiding a team of graduate students and industry sponsors in building a next-generation Rallycross race car at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Engineering in Greenville.

Prucka will be focusing on Deep Orange 9, the ninth installment of the much-celebrated program will be the first aimed at motorsports. The new Deep Orange car will be about more than racing. Students will try to make the car safer and more fuel efficient while reducing emissions.

“Deep Orange is a shining star, an example of the right way to educate students for industry. Cars are not four wheels and a steering wheel. They are a mobile electronics platform with advance powertrains and miles of wire," Prucka stated in the news release.  

Students will also use sensors to track driver’s yes and reaction times. The information combined with artificial intelligence could help search for sign of concussion, a problem now largely self-diagnosed in racing.

Also, as a part of the project, marketing students working under associate professor Jenifer Siemens will look for new ways to make Rallycross even more exciting for viewers.

“His accomplishments, passion for students and close work with industry make him an excellent fit for the Kulwicki Endowed Chair in Motorsports,” Ganand Gramopadhye, the college’s dean, said in the news release. “I congratulate him. This is a well-deserverd honor, one that helps further legacies of the Brooks family and Alan Kulwicki."

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