High School Auto Shops Compete to Transform Ordinary into Showroom Quality

Sep 14, 2015

Quaker State is bringing a hands-on automotive education program to select high schools through the Best in Class Challenge.

The 6-week competition will feature about 27 U.S. high school auto shop classes restoring, tuning and customizing a pre-owned car into a showroom-ready, creative representation of their school. Each high school team will compete for a custom spread in Popular Mechanics, the opportunity to attend and participate in the Dec. 11 Mecum Auction in Austin, Texas, prize money, and scholarships for their high school.

Participating auto shop programs have only until Sept. 27 to secure as many votes as possible for their upgraded rides. The five with the most votes will become finalists and take part in the next stage of the competition, transpiring over six weeks with a different automotive challenge each week beginning Oct. 12, according to Quaker State.

The top five finalists will receive a vehicle from a local car lot (valued at $3,000), and receive a $2,000 AutoZone gift card to purchase all necessary parts and supplies for the competition. The students will then be scored on their progress, quality of work and overall final product through the final weeks of the competition. Online voting will also be taken into consideration, according to Quaker State.

Two well-known automotive figures have been appointment by Quaker State to judge the competition: Tommy Pike, owner of Tommy Pike Customs, and Paul Menard, driver of the No. 27 Quaker State-Menards Chevrolet SS, who races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The judges will evaluate each team based on strict automotive criteria including engine presentation, cabin detailing and exterior finish.

“Being able to judge the ‘Best in Class Challenge’ is a huge honor,” Pike said. “My love for custom automobiles started at a young age, so I hope to inspire these students. I wish I had an opportunity like this when I was getting started.”

Upon successful completion of the “Best in Class Challenge,” schools will be awarded a prize package from AutoZone that includes:

  • Gold Prize-$2,000 AutoZone gift certificate to the first place school
  • Silver Prize-$1,500 AutoZone gift certificate to the second and third pace schools
  • Bronze Prize-$1,000 AutoZone gift certificate to the fourth and fifth place schools

In addition, all five schools will receive a professional mechanics tool kit from AutoZone for their shop class . All members of the winning auto shop team will be awarded the grand prize, a custom advertorial in Popular Mechanics to spread the word about their hard work and automotive skill.

The top-three finalist teams will be given the chance to attend the Mecum Auction in Austin. Additionally, the attending students will be on stage while their vehicle crosses the block, along with Pike and Menard. The top three finalist teams will each have an opportunity to auction off their customized vehicles to the highest bidders with proceeds going to their high schools. The bottom two finalist teams will be able to keep their vehicles as a prize.