Automotive students once again represented Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center Nov. 5-8, at the 2019 Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Build Competition in Las Vegas, NV.
2019 marked the tenth year that the EOC Tech Engine Build Team participated in the SEMA Show and the fourth year they have claimed the 1st place title, advancing to the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) competition in Indianapolis, IN.
The students that make up the EOC Tech Engine Build team are Trace Davidson, Collin Dobson, Brenton Price, Braden Springer and Tyler Wilson, with Instructor, Jim LaFevers.
The Engine Build Team competed in three different engine builds during the weekend; their fastest time being the final build, said Mr. Lafevers.
“We struggled the first two days with the engine builds,” he said. “The first day we made a mistake and didn’t catch it in time, the second day the engine started having issues so the students had to stop and it threw them off of their routine.”
The team was in second place on the last day of the competition by 20 seconds, Lafevers said.
“The team just before us, on the engine we were going to get, had issues so the judges went in and fixed everything to make it right and when it was our turn to compete, we ran a 17:45 perfect motor and ended up finishing with 3:21 above 2nd place.”
Their final time for the competition of 21:10, not only put them in 1st place but also earned the team a title as the “Elite 10,” which guarantees them at least a 10th place spot in the PRI National Competition.
Each member of the Engine Build Team now has a minimum of $20,000 in scholarship money, with the opportunity to earn even more, after they compete in the PRI competition in December.
“If they win at PRI, they could have up to $40,000 in scholarships,” LaFevers said.
Although LaFevers has taken many teams to the Engine Build Competition over the last 10 years, he was particularly impressed with the group this year.
“I enjoyed watching their confidence grow after each engine build,” LaFevers said. “In fact, this was the first team that I’ve had in a long time where they were here in the shop the next morning after we got back, ready to practice and prepare for PRI.”
Brenton Price, a Choctaw High School Junior and Engine Build team member was thrilled to see their hard work pay off.
“The hardest part about being on the Engine Build Team is probably getting everyone synchronized and working together as a team,” he said. “It was neat to see how other teams worked together and competed at this competition.”
Brenton plans on attending UTI when he graduates from high school and feels prepared and secure in his future because of the EOC Tech Automotive program and his experience in the Engine Build Team, which is exactly what LaFevers hopes his students gain from their experience.
“This gives them a jumpstart to their career in the Automotive field,” LaFevers said. “It helps them build their confidence and then away they go, working toward their dreams.”
EOC Tech Engine Build Team students will head to Indianapolis, IN. Dec. 12-14 to compete in the PRI National Competition.