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Team K&N High Schoolers Finish 6th out of 158 at the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Event

Each team is comprised of five student from the participating high school

Team K&N from Burton Art & Tech in Salem, Virginia hard at work on their Small Block Chevy

The work of Top Fuel and Funny Car mechanics is legend. They’re highly-regarded for their ability to tow their race car back to the pits, strip, inspects, rebuild, and tune the race car’s engine and have it back on the line in 60 minutes of less.

Now while this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison, teams of high school students from across the country competed in the 2017 Hot Rodders of Tomorrow (HROT) Engine Challenge, disassembling and then rebuilding an engine from running engine to bare block to running motor in as little as 17 minutes.

The program is simultaneously educating and empowering students as they compete. The competition is designed to provide students access and experience in the automotive industry by way of a team-building challenge.

HROT has been growing steadily since its inception in 2008. In a nutshell, the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge is a timed competition where teams of five high-school students go head to head to disassemble and reassemble a small-block Chevy 350. During the competition rounds, each five-student team is presented with a Chevrolet small-block engine. The team is tasked with disassembling the engine down to its camshaft.

When the disassembly has been completed, a judge verifies that the work had been done correctly. After receiving approval from the judge, the team reassembles the engine back to its original and completed form. The process is timed, and the teams with the best scores advance to the next round.

The 2017 competition features 158 teams, with a total of 790 students. Teams compete at 15 nationwide events that are held throughout the country. The teams that win the various qualifying events go on to participate in the dual championship finals. The final two events take place at the SEMA Show, in Las Vegas, and conclude at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show.

Scoring is a composite of three parts. First, the average time to assemble the engine for each of the three times the teams competed. Second, the penalty minutes added for mistakes made during disassembly and reassembly, and the third part is a 50-question written test on component and tool identification along with general engine and rules knowledge.

Hot Rodders of Tomorrow expanded into Jr Dragster events in 2017

2017 was the tenth year of Hot Rodders of Tomorrow competition

Out of the 158 teams originally entered in the regional competition, only 45 teams moved up to compete at the SEMA Show or PRI Trade Show to qualify for the Elite Eight competition.

The Elite Eight pits the top four SEMA Show seeds against the top four PRI Trade Show seeds.

Two teams were entered by the Burton Center for Arts & Tech in Salem, Virginia, and both reached the Elite Eight. Team Two is sponsored by K&N Filters and took on the name Team K&N. At the PRI Trade Show, Team K&N finished in fourth place with an average time of 20:59. Its companion Burton Center Team One, now Team Meziere, won the PRI qualifier with a best average time of 17:51.

In the National Championship, only three seconds separated the first- and second-place teams, and just 17 seconds between first and third place. But in the end, Team Fel-Pro from the Tulsa Technology Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, came out on top with an average time of 17:06.0, with Burton Center for Arts & Tech Team Meziere in second at 17:09.0. Team K&N from Burton finished an impressive sixth overall at 19:45.3.

Team K&N was comprised of instructor Steven Hoback and students Carter Lawrence, Ethan Muncy, Mackenzie Powell, Allen Slaydon, and Landon Wood.

What’s equally impressive is that the top 15 teams all completed their tear-down and reassembly in 30 minutes or less.

Each student earned scholarship opportunities ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 from Ohio Technical College, School of Automotive Machinists & Technology, and Universal Technical Institute. That scholarship money doubly helps the industry by giving young people with an automotive passion a chance to get a higher education. It also allows them to be that much more educated should they enter automotive careers.

Congratulations also to coach Steve Hoback and Burton Art & Tech

Congraulations to Ethan, Mackenzie, Allen, Carter, and Landon for their 6th place finish

To attract an even younger crowd to the sport and an engine building competition, HROT Jr. Dragster Racing Series and HROT Jr. Engine Challenge programs were launched in 2017 to introduce kids to the automotive industry at ages 5 through 15. Students who have completed the HROT Jr. programs will be equipped with the right tools and hands-on experience to bring to the standard HROT program when they come of age.

For more information about either of these programs, check out the HotRoddersofTomorrow website.

K&N Engineering would like to offer our congratulations to all participants in the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow competition, and to the HROT crew for their expert coordination and management of the events.


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