Creeping along the express paths at 20 miles an hour, Southeast shuttle bus riders might be surprised to learn their driver is Grant Sneed hard core, pedal to the metal, steel-nerved street racer.
During the school year, Sneed spends his time driving a shuttle or doing class work for his criminal justice degree. His summer pastimes are tweaking his cars and cramming dust down the throats of other drivers at the Gateway International Raceway in St. Louis.
“It’s an expensive hobby,” Sneed said, “but it gives me the satisfaction of manipulating speed and modifying cars. The speed also gives me an adrenaline rush, and it’s also fun to take home some respect when you beat someone who has a reputation of being unbeatable.”
Sneed said working on making cars faster is something he and members of his family, who now live in St. Louis, enjoy doing together.
A native of Harrisburg, Pa., Sneed plans to graduate in May, 2006, and said he will pursue a law degree in either St. Louis or Pennsylvania. While he’s clearly adapted well to the Midwest, he enjoys going back to his hometown.
“Harrisburg is my favorite travel destination, simply because I love being surrounded by nature,” he said. “And they have a Hershey town, which is equivalent to Six Flags but adds the sweet taste of chocolate.”
But he doesn’t have to go to Pennsylvania for something sweet and satisfying.
“My favorite moment here at Southeast was a few weeks ago,” he said, “watching Mike Nelke sink a three pointer to beat Murray State in the last seconds of the game.”
As a shuttle bus driver, Sneed usually works the late shift on Friday nights. He said driving in a half-mile radius for hours on end isn’t as boring as it sounds.
“I’ve met a lot of people and seen a lot of bizarre things. One time a guy got in dressed as a woman,” he said, “but I think it was for Halloween.”
Sneed is a member of the McNair Scholars program. He plays both the bass guitar and the drums and enjoys video games, but what’s particularly unexpected is his affinity for what he calls “popcorn pizza.”
“My favorite food is popcorn pizza,” he said. “It’s a combination of Papa John’s cheese pizza topped with Extreme Butter popcorn.”
That’s almost as unexpected as a shuttle bus driver who likes to burn rubber.