In a battle between 13 teams from across the country, five Fremd High School students were required to correctly take apart and reassemble a Chevy 350 engine, receiving scholarships for their effort.
Students Alex Cook, Avery Olson, Tyler Raap, Bogdan Sabados and Maurice Schuerke competed in the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Competition at the Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas.
The competition uses strong teamwork skills to mimic what a top-fuel pit crew does. There were four competition waves, in which the slowest time was dropped from the team's overall time. Teams were penalized for not following proper procedures, such as torquing fasteners, adjusting valve train, or dropping critical parts. The Fremd team's time was 28 minutes, 50 seconds, which landed them a 10th-place finish.
The team was sponsored by Edelbrock, a world leader in automotive performance based in Torrance, Calif. Edelbrock also invited the students to sit center stage with Vic Edelbrock Jr., his wife Nancy, and their daughter, Christi, at the SEMA banquet.
"This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for these students to not only meet, but discuss cars with a legend and his family," said Steve Elza, the students' automotive teacher.
All three of the team's engines were in perfect working condition at the end of the competition. Each student received a $15,000 scholarship, in addition to scholarships they received during the regional level competition. After competing, they attended the SEMA show where they made contacts that could lead to additional scholarships, internships and employment opportunities.
"Walking through the countless manufacturer booths at the show, one theme was apparent: we need the young minds of today to carry us into tomorrow," Elza said. "The need for skilled labor is in high demand and the automotive industry is no different."