DEARBORN – America’s top young automotive minds were on display today in Dearborn, as two-student teams representing all 50 states engaged in a race against the clock – and one another – in an effort earn the title National Champion at the 64th annual Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals at Ford World Headquarters.
When the dust settled, the duo of Logan Boyle and Cody Collins from Vale High School in Vale, Ore. claimed the crown of America’s top auto technicians, registering the day’s top score under the guidance of instructor Drew Barnes.
“From connected cars to alternative fuels, automotive technology is advancing at a faster pace than we have ever seen and tomorrow’s technicians need to be savvy, innovative and eager,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “The Ford/AAA Auto Skills competition develops future technicians who will ensure motorists will receive access to quality repair.”
With nearly $12 million dollars in scholarship prizes in the balance, state winners gathered today in Dearborn to solve “real world” automotive challenges – both digital and mechanical – in a timed competition that required a quick mind and steady hands as top auto students worked with wrenches and computers alike. With automotive sales increasing and innovative technologies becoming a bigger part of the manufacturing process, the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition is shaping the next generation of auto technicians who will work on these vehicles.
“Ford is proud to play a role in developing the technicians of tomorrow,” said Steve DeAngelis, Ford’s Global Manager of Technical Support Operations. “It’s a challenging, ever-evolving industry out there and Ford is committed to providing the best, most comprehensive training possible and part of that is providing unique opportunities like our partnership with AAA on this exciting annual competition. We share our congratulations with today’s winners and all the attendees – they worked hard to get here.”
Beginning with a shotgun start, the student competitors (all paired in two-person teams) raced to their vehicles to review a work order that challenged them to diagnose and repair a number of purposefully placed “bugs” ranging from digital to mechanical and electrical. Once the repairs were completed, it was a race to shut the hood, fire up the engine and steer the vehicle across the finish line – where a scrutinizing judging team awaited.
To earn the National Title, Vale High School earned a “perfect car” score by flawlessly repairing all the “bugs” without any demerits. Combined with the results of a written examination taken on June 10, their score allowed them to hoist the trophy as national champions.
The top-10 placing teams for the 2013 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals were:
In addition to scholarships, the National Champion Oregon team will enjoy an immersive, weeklong job shadow experience with 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne and his Wood Brothers Racing team, as they prepare the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion car for the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona Beach, Fla. – the famous site of Bayne’s spectacular win at age 20.