Get Your Motor Running: Ford and AAA National Student Auto Skills Competition Tuesday

Heather Hunter

One hundred of the top automotive high school students from across the country will converge on the Motor City to compete for the national title and millions of dollars in scholarships and prizes

ORLANDO, Fla. (June 8, 2015) – As automotive vehicles become more technologically advanced, demand is high for skilled auto technicians that understand the intricacies of repairing America’s fleet of automobiles. The 2015 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition will gather the nation’s top young automotive minds to display their skills and compete for the national title and millions of dollars in scholarships.

The 2015 Student Auto Skills Competition culminates with the crowning of a national champion on Tuesday, June 9 at Ford Motor Company’s World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. The competition features 100 top automotive technology students from all 50 states, with each state represented by a two-student team and their high school instructor.

At the National Finals, the students will have their automotive skills and knowledge put to the test with a written exam and a timed event in which they race against the clock and each other to repair deliberately-installed “bugs” in identical 2015 Ford Mustang Fastbacks with 3.7L V6 engines.   The students will use the OTC Encore, a diagnostics tool made by Bosch, to identify issues and fix the vehicles. In addition to being a major automotive supplier, Bosch too, focuses on developing young technicians through hands-on training and a nationwide team of field training specialists.

The road to Dearborn began in January when nearly 12,000 high school juniors and seniors took an online exam testing their automotive technology knowledge, and will culminate with one team earning the title of national champion. In addition to scholarships and prizes, this year’s national champions will earn the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through a weeklong job shadow experience with auto racing royalty, Wood Brothers Racing’s legendary No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion team and driver Ryan Blaney. For these two automotive student national champions and their instructor, this unique job shadow experience extends from a high-tech performance garage in North Carolina to the world-famous Daytona International Speedway, including:

  • Immersion of the winning students into the Wood Brothers Racing team as these expert auto technicians prepare for one the biggest events on the Sprint Cup Series calendar – the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, July 5
  • Mentoring by No. 21 driver Ryan Blaney at both the Wood Brothers Racing shop in Harrisburg, North Carolina and also trackside at Daytona
  • Serving as honorary on-track pit crew members on the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion under the guidance of Crew Chief Jeremy Bullins

“Every week it’s the drivers who get all the attention on the track,” said Blaney, “but truthfully, we wouldn’t even be able to race if it wasn’t for our crew. Our team is the best in the business. They spend their entire week working to keep the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane car in top condition for me to race.”

Founded in 1950, Wood Brothers Racing is the oldest active team in NASCAR. The Wood Brothers have won 14 Sprint Cup Series races at Daytona International Speedway, more than any other team in the sport.

Added Blaney, “The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition is an unparalleled opportunity for the thousands of students across the country who want to break into the industry. I’m pretty excited to see these National Champions. Although the students are only in high school, they can work on the world’s best cars themselves. Who knows, maybe one of these students will end up on our pit crew!”

As cars continue to become more advanced, Ford is leading the way with new technologies such as all-electric vehicles, adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake assist. Understanding the mechanics behind these technologies is essential to the future of the automotive industry, the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills challenge focuses on technological practices, while educating the next generation of technicians in traditional mechanical principles so they will be able to understand and work on new vehicles.

The 2015 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills may enable many of its participants to embark on promising careers in the automotive repair industry to help fuel the demand for well-trained technicians that can repair both computer and mechanical components in today’s advanced vehicles. Both the national and the state-wide competitions were organized with the support of AAA and Ford personnel, local automotive instructors and the AAA Approved Auto Repair program, a public service AAA performs to identify quality repair facilities throughout the country. The competition will award over $12 million in scholarships to high school auto students, including the national title winners, allowing them to further their education in this rapidly changing industry.

About Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills

The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition that offers over $12 million in scholarships and prizes to high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians.  Approximately, 12,000 students from across the U.S. compete for the chance to represent their school and state in the National Finals. The competition tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities. For additional information on the competition, visit autoskills.aaa.com.

About AAA

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

About Ford Motor Company

For Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan, manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 194,000 employees and 66 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.

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