By Bret Eckhardt
Acclaimed TV late night show host, stand-up comedian, and passionate auto collector Jay Leno took a quick tour of the UConn campus Saturday night prior to his sold-out show at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts – and by quick, we mean race car fast.
About two hours before his Family Weekend performance in Storrs, Leno met with UConn engineering students who designed, built, and recently raced a Formula SAE open wheel car in an international competition at Michigan International Speedway. The UConn team, led by Thomas Mealy, placed 20th overall out of 120 collegiate teams. Cars were judged based on their design, presentation, performance, and other aspects.
But to truly appreciate the carbon-fiber car you need to drive it, and Leno was game, sliding behind the wheel for a few impromptu laps around campus that at times pressed the speed limit on local roads.
“These guys heard I was in town,” Leno told a local news crew after the event. “They have no idea I’m a comedian. They just know me as a car guy. They asked me to stop by and I was honored to do it.”