Young engine builders showcased their skill and speed at the SEMA Show, and took a big step toward furthering their automotive education in the process.
Ohio Technical College and the University of Northwestern Ohio each donated $125,000 toward scholarships to the high school students who participated in the first-ever Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge National Championship during the 2009 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
The five members of Team Fel-Pro from Joliet Central High School, Joliet, Ill., each earned $10,000 scholarships for their victory in “The Showdown at SEMA” championship, taking just 44:22 to take apart and reassemble a high-performance Chevy 350 engine.
Their championship opponents, Team MSD from Elkhart Area Career Center, Elkhart, Ind., completed the task in 56:54 and were awarded individual $7,500 scholarships.
“The Showdown at SEMA was a stellar event. It went well beyond our expectations,” said Tim Freeman, founder of the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge. “It was so well received by the auto aftermarket industry that SEMA has committed to doing it again next year. This competition helps the students, teachers, schools and the future of the performance aftermarket industry.”
To qualify for the championship round, Team Fel-Pro and Team MSD eliminated teams Hedman Hedders from Loara High School, Anaheim, Calif., and Team Edelbrock from Van Buren Tech Center, Lawrence, Mich., respectively.
Team Hedman Hedders won third place, and its members each earned $5,000 scholarships. Team Edelbrock members received $2,500 each.
“OTC is thrilled to have an opportunity to be a part of this event and we congratulate all four teams for reaching the finals,” said Tom King, director of enrollment management, Ohio Technical College. “Along with such a great organization as the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow, OTC is proud to invest in and contribute to the future of the automotive industry.”
In the competition, students must properly disassemble an engine using only hand tools, utilizing proper de-torque and disassembly procedure.
They start with the air cleaner, carburetor, distributor, plug wires, spark plugs, manifold, headers, heads, lifters, rocker arms, push rods, timing chain and cover. Then they tackle the oil filter, oil pan and oil pump, and remove all eight pistons. The cam and crank remain in the block.
Team members then return to their bench and wait for the judges to call them back. They then begin working to reassemble the engine in front of judges and spectators, following the correct assembly procedure and torque specs.
Time-added penalties for dropped components, improper disassembly, assembly, sportsmanship and other factors are assessed by the judges, if warranted.
When reassembled, the engines would fire up and run if gas, water and oil were added. The team with the fastest time including penalties is declared the winner.
The teams are made up of invited auto technology classes from local high schools. Each team consists of five students and an instructor/coach. The individual schools set standards and guidelines for involvement. Grades, attendance and skill are all part of making the team.
Through the event students get an opportunity to showcase their talents and knowledge gained during classroom sessions and workshops. It also provides an environment for students to learn teamwork, gain confidence and show their skill.
More information about the competition is available at www.hotroddersoftomorrow.com.