This weekend, teams from a local high school will compete at one of NASCAR’s fastest tracks.
On Saturday and Sunday, four teams from Forsyth Central High School will compete in the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow at Atlanta Motor Speedway as part of the track’s Atlanta Motorama.
“Drag racing, NASCAR racing, any type of motorsports has lost a bit of traction in the past years with the younger generations,” said Marlo Miranda, automotive technology teacher at Central. “We’re trying to introduce these kids to the world of motor sports so they can get involved, and some of these kids need something to get involved in.”
The competition features teams of five who must disassemble and reassemble an engine and are judged on timing and precision.
“There are four students allowed to work on an engine at a time and one student stays at what is called the table,” Miranda said. “As the students working on the engine take parts of the engine, they put them on the table and they continue until the engine is completely disassembled.”
Once the engine is disassembled, students have to place “every nut, every bolt, every tool” on the table for judges to inspect them.
“The students will come around and reassemble the engine, torque every bolt to specification,” Miranda said. “Once the engine is together, their time stops. It’s basically who can do it the most accurately the fastest.”
Miranda said Hot Rodders of Tomorrow wants to get kids involved with motorsports, so teams work on racing engines.
“The engines are small block Chevy race engines; they have headers, carburetors, intake manifolds, even a harmonic balancer on the engine,” he said. “So, it’s a pretty complete engine.”
At this weekend’s competition, teams will have a chance to earn a spot at the Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis.
Going to the national competition would not be a first for Central, who sent three teams last year and finished second, fifth and 13th.
Miranda said there are also bigger prizes at stake than just competition honors.
“Year after year we’re pretty consistent,” he said. “We have a good time; the kids are competing for not only bragging rights, trophies, state championships and national championships, but they also, most importantly, win scholarship money.