South Elgin High team heads to nationals for engine teardown contest
How long does it take to break down and reassemble an automotive engine?
A team of South Elgin High School automotive technology students will find out as they test their speed against competitors from nine other schools vying for the fastest team title.
Students from throughout the country will face off in the 2019 Hot Rodders of Tomorrow National Dual Championship at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, Thursday through Dec. 14, in Indianapolis. Teams race against the clock and one another as they tear down an engine and reassemble it. Competition participants will be eligible to win scholarships.
South Elgin's team qualified for the national competition with an average engine teardown time of 26 minutes at the National Speed Equipment Manufacturing trade show in Las Vegas in November.
"We set out in October 2018 on our path to become the best team we could be," South Elgin automotive instructor Steve Schertz said. "The students took a genuine interest in seeing how much they could push themselves. Their effort and sacrifice are what I am most proud to see."
In the last 12 years, Schertz has led several South Elgin teams to national competitions. His all-female engine teardown team ranked fifth in the nation in 2017. He also hosts an annual auto show and works with the students to restore vehicles -- a 1937 Chevy pickup this year.
This year's Hot Rodders team is sponsored by JEGS Performance Auto Parts and coached by recent South Elgin High alumna LeeAnne Driscoll, a counter salesperson at Napa Auto Parts.
Team members include seniors Andrew Clark, Casey Gebala, Dan Godinez and Jared Pena and juniors Hayden Shaw and Omar Quiroz.