Located in the heart of NASCAR country, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s engineering program attracts students from all over the county who are pursuing a career in motorsports. Four of those students will put the knowledge they have gained in the classroom to the ultimate test as they participate in the Legends Million, July 15-17, at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

This one-of-a-kind grassroots race will provide classmates John Hilliker, Brian Ouimette, Sam McAulay and Chris Davis with the opportunity to compete against each other for bragging rights and their share of the $1 million purse.

Hilliker, a freshman at UNCC, began racing at age nine. The first time he climbed into a race car he knew he wanted to make a profession out of it, and a little more than a year ago the Montana native moved to North Carolina to follow his dream of pursuing a job in motorsports.

“I‘ve been gunning for a career as a racer for a long time,” said Hilliker. “I’m just trying to make it work. One week after high school graduation I packed up and moved to Charlotte by myself for the UNCC motorsports program and to get into NASCAR country. I feel like there are a lot of opportunities here and it was a necessary move to pursue a career in the sport.”

Since his move to Charlotte, Hilliker has gotten to know fellow classmate and engineering student Ouimette. The two have recently become teammates, competing in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Kangaroo Express Summer Shootout Series, a 10-week, Tuesday night racing series featuring some of the best Legend Car drivers in the country. Hilliker and Ouimette think their partnership will give them an advantage in the Legends Million.

“Brian and I work together and share information,” explained Hilliker. “We met through school and just teamed up this year for the Shootout. So far everything has gone really smoothly. We help each other a lot and I am sure that will carry over to the Legends Million.”

Ouimette, a sophomore at UNCC, began his racing career driving go-karts near his home in Connecticut. In 2005 he won four championships in four divisions, and in 2009 he began racing in the Summer Shootout Series.

The first generation racer plans to use his racing experience and classroom education to come up with a driving strategy for the Legends Million.

“I am going to take my time,” said Ouimette, “It is a long race and I want to stay out of trouble early, but I’m definitely going to be more aggressive toward the end. I’m going for it and I would knock someone out of the way on the last lap for a win.”

McAulay, also a sophomore at UNCC, began driving a Bandolero Car at 13, and three years later, he stepped into a Legend Car for the first time.

“I’ve always been interested in racing, but no one in my family has ever driven a race car,” said McAulay. “I had to start from scratch so to speak, but the more I got into it, I knew I wanted to make a career out of it.”

When the 19-year-old heard about the Legends Million, he thought participating in the largest Legend Car race ever would be a step in the right direction toward a career in motorsports.

“The Legends Million is really exciting for me,” said McAulay. “With it being televised live on SPEED it will bring a lot more exposure to the drivers and a much bigger crowd to come watch us race.”

Davis, a freshman at UNCC, began his racing career on two wheels instead of four. Starting in motocross when he was eight, Davis won two American Motorcyclist Association championships before age 16 when he moved to a Legend Car.

Although Davis has only been in a Legend Car for three years, he is excited about the opportunity to race in an event of this caliber.

“I didn’t believe it at first,” said Davis. “It’s pretty cool that Bruton Smith would put this on and being a part of the first ever Legends Million is going to be really cool. There is going to be a lot of stiff competition out there, so that’s going to make it a challenge, but I am excited.”

More than 250 drivers from 35 states and two foreign countries have registered for the Legends Million which features a total purse of $1 million. The A-Feature winner is guaranteed to take home an unprecedented $250,000, while the final spot in the feature is assured $10,000.

Competitors who register for the Legends Million must register in one of three divisions: Young Lions/Semi-Pro, Masters or The Legends Million, which is open to all drivers.

Each division will run heat races and an A-Main race, with the Legends Million A-Feature serving as the grand finale of the three-day event. The winners of the Masters and Semi-Pro/Young Lions division A-Main races will earn an unprecedented $30,000 and $25,000, respectively.

For additional information on competitor registration for the Legends Million, go online or call the Charlotte Motor Speedway events department at (704) 455-3205.