Each year hundreds of automotive technology students from high schools across the country take part in regional competitions to determine which teams can disassemble and reassemble a small-block Chevrolet engine with aftermarket components in the fastest time, with the top scorers advancing to the National Championship.
This December, as part of the 25th Annual Performance Racing Industry Show, the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow will be holding their second exhibition engine build competition featuring high school students that just participated in the 2012 National Championship "Showdown at SEMA."
Thirteen schools competed in the four-day event, held just outside the front door to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Each team competed in four rounds with the worst time thrown out and the average of the other three used to determine the standings.
Five of the finalists will be competing for bragging rights and scholarships at this year's PRI Show. They are:
Team Mr. Gasket - East Ridge High School, Chattanooga, Tenn. - SEMA average time- 22:19
"I absolutely love this event," said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. "It is amazing to me that Jim's activity has impacted so many young members of our industry over the years. We're pleased to be a part of the event and support this effort."
Along with being dubbed “champion,” these student engine builders are eligible for prizes, sponsorships and support from select companies as well as scholarship money to aid in future education and training. To date more than $6 million in scholarship money has been awarded.
Thus far, monetary commitments have been made by the University of Northwest Ohio in Lima, Ohio, Ohio Technical College in Cleveland, Ohio, and SAM, the School of Automotive Machinists, located in Houston, Texas.
The Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge began in 2008 as an exhibition with just five schools, and has grown into a national competition for high school students. In 2011, more than 70 teams have competed nationwide.
The event serves as a forum for the future development of today’s youth for the race and performance industry. During each regional qualifying competition, students must properly disassemble small block Chevy engines using only hand tools and follow proper disassembly and reassembly procedures. This is a competition against the clock, so time added penalties may be issued.
"This industry that we're in and love is turning gray. It's getting older year after year," said Jim Bingham, chairman of Hot Rodders Of Tomorrow and president/CEO of Winner's Circle Speed & Custom, Joliet, Illinois. "This is designed to be a program to bring young people inside this industry. This is about bringing them in, showing them that they can enjoy making a living in the high performance field, and, as a result, we get youth and talent inside our industry every year.
"This is just what our industry needed," added Vic Edelbrock, president of Edelbrock Corp. "It involves our youth, and gives them a focus that will help prepare them for careers in the performance automotive aftermarket."
The 26th Annual Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, December 12-14, 2013, in Indianapolis, Indiana, will host the 2013 Hot Rodders of Tomorrow National Championship—the final round of the nation's premier engine build competition for young automotive talent.
To date, Hot Rodders of Tomorrow has had a total of 328 auto-tech teams consisting of 1675 students participating in the competition, and has been seen by more than 760,000+ people at Divisional and Championships.
Its judges are a group of highly committed volunteers, and it is sponsored by the best companies in the Race & Performance Business.