DANVILLE, Ill., (WCIA) — Danville Area Community College (DACC) normally hosts a car show in May. One automotive teacher at the school said it’s more common to see shows in the summertime because some car enthusiasts put their vehicles away for the winter.
But, on Saturday afternoon, hundreds of people gathered together for a last-minute car show honoring 19-year-old Alex Dinger. He was an automotive student at DACC and was killed in a car crash when driving home to Sidell on Oct. 15.
His mom, Tammy Dinger, said she’s thankful so many people decided to take their cars out and see the overwhelming support that poured in throughout the day.
She said her son’s passion for cars sparked when he got a 94 Saturn.
“He’s excited for everybody and he loves everybody’s cars,” she said.
She added that he was looking forward to the spring semester because he would be matched with a dealership and gain more hands-on experience outside of the classroom.
“I spent most of our time in our racing class with him. That group of students has really become family,” Dean Graves, one of his automotive teachers, said.
Graves said his students wanted to put together Saturday’s car show in his honor. He helped make it happen with them, all in eight days.
They passed out fliers and advertised online, pulling in about 155 registered cars.
“They started coming in fast…and the more that came, the more emotional I think more of us got,” Graves said.
Alex’s friends and family judged the cars, based on what he would’ve liked.
“Any muscle car would’ve worked. And color. He liked purple. Purple was his color,” his mom said.
The car voted “best in show” won a trophy. Graves said a manufacturing class laser cut the design, automotive students designed it and the welding class put it all together. Seven students worked on it together in their free time.
“His classmates and his friends and his teachers have absolutely blown me away with their support and their kindness,” Dinger said.
She added that Alex looked up to teachers like Graves and knew this program was the perfect fit for him. That’s why she said all the proceeds are going back to the school.
“I hope they use it to increase technology, use whatever they need it for,” she said.
Because in the future, she knows they will be the next generation working in the dealerships when our cars need repair.
There were various food trucks and kids trick-or-treating around the car show as well. Dinger said she hopes it can inspire some of the children to go down the automotive path one day too.