Nation’s Top High School Auto Techs Compete for Opportunity
to ‘Tune-up’ their Skills with Roush Fenway Racing
Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills national winners to job-shadow No. 16 Con-way Freight team; receive expert advice from one of racing’s most successful crew chiefs – Larry McReynolds
ORLANDO, Fla., (June 8, 2010) – AAA and Roush Fenway Racing today announced that the nation’s best young automotive technicians from the 2010 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition will receive a dream learning experience—a week behind the scenes with the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Con-way Freight team.
In July, the winning students will job shadow the race team leading up to and during the Kroger 200, benefiting Riley Hospital for Children NASCAR race at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis. In addition, the students will have the opportunity to interact at-track with one of racing’s most successful and recognized crew chiefs, Larry McReynolds, who will serve as the national spokesperson for the Ford/AAA Auto Skills program this year.
“The thousands of dedicated young people who put their hearts and souls into winning the nation’s premier competition for aspiring automotive technicians truly are the future of the automotive industry,” said Roush Fenway Racing Team Owner Jack Roush. “These students have shown they have character, drive and determination to be a winner in life and on the race track. That’s why Roush Fenway Racing is proud to join with Ford and AAA for a third year to encourage more students to consider career choices in motorsports, auto repairs or other fields of automotive technology.”
The once-in-a-lifetime learning experience with Roush Fenway Racing is one of the grand prizes for the two-person team that wins the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals. The No. 16 Con-way Freight team will open up their race shop and garage to the students to give them an in-depth look at auto technicians in the fast-paced world of NASCAR. The winners also will have an opportunity to interact and glean valuable insights from McReynolds at-track.
"I am excited to serve as the national spokesperson for the Ford/AAA Auto Skills program,” said McReynolds, who is currently seen weekly on various national television networks as a NASCAR on-air analyst. “As a former crew chief, I know the amount of hard work, dedication and attention to detail that goes into being competitive and successful in the racing industry. I look forward to meeting the national champions and offering any advice I can to assist them in their future development and career aspirations.”
This learning experience will begin July 20 at the Roush Fenway Racing facility in Mooresville, N.C. For two days, the students will get to shadow the No. 16 crew at the race shop as they prepare for the upcoming race at O’Reilly Raceway Park on July 24.
The students and their instructor will then travel with the team to Indianapolis, where they will serve as honorary pit crew members during the NASCAR race weekend, as well as participate in a meet-and-greet with McReynolds, who led drivers to 23 NASCAR Cup victories as a crew chief, including a pair of Daytona 500 checkered flags (and Dale Earnhardt’s only win in the famed race in 1998).
AAA and Ford—along with other affiliated companies—sponsor the nation’s largest competition for high school automotive technology students, giving thousands of teens the keys to start their careers in the automotive service industry.
The competition began in February when nearly 10,500 high school juniors and seniors took an online exam testing their automotive technology knowledge. The top scorers in each state advanced to a hands-on competition in their state’s finals. Working as a two-person team representing their high school, they raced to correctly identify and fix intentionally installed ‘bugs’ on Mercury Milan vehicles. Each championship team from all 50 states advances to the National Finals at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., June 13-15.
Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills enables many of its participants to embark on promising careers in the automotive repair industry with more than $11.5 million in scholarships offered this year at both the state and national level. Demand for well-trained technicians continues to be high due to more motorists fixing their older vehicles instead of buying new ones. According to Land Marketing Resources Inc., the average age of cars in the United States is 10.6 years, which is slightly higher from 10.2 in 2007.
Additionally, some 78 percent of the independent automotive technicians responding to a survey by the Automotive Service Association reported they expect sales increases in 2010 compared to a challenging year in 2009.
Both the national and the state-wide competitions are organized with the support of AAA and Ford personnel, local automotive instructors and the AAA Approved Auto Repair program, a free public service AAA performs to identify quality repair facilities throughout the country.
About Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills (www.AutoSkills.com)
Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition for high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians. This year marks the 61st anniversary of the competition that tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities with a written test as well as a race against the clock to diagnose and properly repair intentionally “bugged” vehicles. Ford and AAA are dedicated to the competition as part of their commitment to the future of automotive service in America.
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