A car can't go anywhere without fuel.
Fremd High School graduates Frank Kranz and Tom Mayer know that to be true after one mechanical mishap dropped them to 31st place in this week's the Ford/AAA Auto Skills competition at Ford Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.
Kranz and Mayer, two 17-year-olds from Palatine, represented Illinois as one of 50 two-person teams in the event. Participants were required to complete a 200-point written exam, fix a tampered 2014 Ford Fusion in 90 minutes and then cross the finish line with the repaired vehicle.
Kranz and Mayer repaired all bugs on the car except for a broken fuel module, which prevented the Ford Fusion from moving, meaning they did not finish.
"Every year is different as far as what they bug on the cars," said Steve Elza, the team's instructor from Fremd.
Team Wisconsin, represented by Justin Bublitz and Colt Morris of Grafton High School, finished first in the event by repairing all the bugs in their car without demerits.
Kranz and Mayer still walked away from the event with $10,000 in scholarship money, tools and gear from companies like NAPA, and business contacts with potential employers.
"Even though Frank and Tom didn't get everything fixed, they held their heads high," Elza said. "They are proud of what they did, and they should be."