Two Wisconsin Students Outlast 98 Others to Claim Top Prize in National Ford/AAA Auto Skills Competition

Heather Hunter65th annual auto technology showdown matched top high school student teams from all 50 states;  over $10 million in scholarships awarded to help refuel auto industry’s next generation of talent

DEARBORN, Mich. (June 10, 2014) – Students from across the country gathered in Dearborn today, to match wits and workmanship in a race against the clock – and one another – for the right to claim a National Championship and be named the top young automotive minds in America at the 65th annual Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals at Ford World Headquarters.

When the dust settled, the duo of Justin Bublitz and Colt Morris from Grafton High School in Grafton, Wis. claimed the crown of America’s top auto technicians, registering the day’s top score under the tutelage of instructor Carl Hader.

With over $10 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. A quick mind and steady hands were required as top auto students worked with wrenches and computers alike.   With automotive sales up across the board, and new 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.

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, Bublitz and Morris earned a “perfect car” score by flawlessly repairing all the “bugs” without any demerits. Students are graded on quality repair workmanship and safety. Combined with the results of a written examination taken on June 9, their score allowed them to hoist the trophy as national champions.

The top-10 teams in the 2014 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals were:

State High School City Student Student Instructor
1. Wisconsin Grafton High School Grafton Justin Bublitz Colt Morris Carl Hader
2. Oklahoma Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center Choctaw Andrew Chapman William Eubanks Jim LaFevers
3. Maine Portland Arts and Technology High School Portland David Dutton Kolbe Clifford John Carmichael
4. Oregon Vale High School Vale Kade Phillips Tyrel Raven Drew Barnes
5. Hawaii Maui High School Kahului Chayce Mimura Devin Vea Neill Nakamura
6. Massachusetts Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School Bourne Adam Bancroft Kyle Saintonge Dennis Theohasidis
7. Rhode Island Burrillville High School Harrisville Harry Moran Nick Pennine Tim Durigan
8. Iowa West Delaware High School Manchester Glenn Comley Nathan Gudenkauf Jason Guyer
9. Kansas Newton High School Newton Derek Voth Carson Roach Bob Ziegler
10. Nevada Arbor View High School Las Vegas Zach Taylor Mason Hoopes Tom Garrett Jr.

In addition to scholarships, the National Champion Wisconsin 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.

“For today’s automotive technicians, being able to diagnose and repair a computer-related malfunction is just as critical as fixing mechanical failures,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA Chief Operating Officer. “As a generation that has grown up with digital technology, this year’s students are uniquely qualified to lead the auto industry forward and you saw their brilliance on display today in a high-octane atmosphere matching the nation’s best talent from coast-to-coast.”

“The automotive technicians of tomorrow must be well-educated and highly-skilled to meet the current and future technological advances in automotive technology,” said Steve DeAngelis, Ford’s Manager of Technical Support Operations. “The people at Ford are committed to training and retaining the best technicians in the industry, which is why we are so proud of our continued involvement in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition, which invests in our highly-skilled technicians of tomorrow.”

About Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills

The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition that offers over $10 million in scholarships and prizes to high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians.  Approximately, 13,000 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

About AAA

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 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

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 183,000 employees and 65 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

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