Tuesday, 29 April 2014 17:00

Michigan Collision Repair Student Sierra Lantz is Learning Repair, but Toward a Racing Career

What started with racing her go karts and snowmobiles has turned into a full-time dream come true for Sierra Lantz, a student in the Auto Collision Repair program at the Kent Career Technical Center (KCTC) in Grand Rapids, MI. A recent class project was her own 1989 Mustang, which she’ll race at the Kalamazoo Speedway for the 2014 summer season.


“I want to go as far as I can,” said Lantz about her future. “I like Indi cars, but I will race anything.”


Sierra’s upgrade to full-sized cars began with racing a four-cylinder Honda Civic for a year and a half at the Berlin Raceway. “We run a tight budget so we race what we can,” she said. Sierra is excited to be switching cars and raceways this year. “I like Fords and have always wanted a Mustang. Now I have one.”

“No one else in my family actually races,” said Sierra, who completely owns her passion for speeding through finish lines. She explained that her father had been working with her to fix up cars and other vehicles for years, but racing was her idea.

Sierra was appreciative that KCTC has helped her continue to learn about cars. Not only was it fun to bring her own car into class to work on, but the facilities at KCTC made the final touches to the car much easier, she said.

Now her Mustang, referred to as he or she, depending on Sierra’s mood, is a stunning black, pink, and silver. Not many high school students can boast having a vehicle similar to their dream car before graduation. Sierra is close, admitting, “Someday I want an all-pink Mustang with black racing stripes.”

The Tech Center provides real life experiences in 24 different programs, helping students explore careers, define career paths, and realize their true passions. Along the way, they develop skills they can use in college courses and when starting their careers.

“The Auto Collision class gives good fundamentals,” said Ken Vanderwarf, a career specialist at KCTC. “It helps students determine if they want to continue into an auto-related career.”

Sierra’s ambition goes far. “We only have one or two girls in class, and Sierra can outdo most of the boys,” said Vanderwarf.