The teams from six high schools will be competing in the speedway’s Victory Lane area during the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow competition as part of the Summit Racing Equipment Atlanta Motorama.
The five-member South Paulding team must tear down a small-block engine to the crank and camshafts and rebuild it. The winning team will have the lowest time of completion, with judges adding time to a final total based on mistakes such as bolts in wrong places, said South Paulding coach James Bouwens.
In addition, the event provides students with opportunities to meet industry professionals, Bouwens said. Technical colleges also may give scholarships to competitors because of their proven expertise, he said.
“It’s really pretty good at networking possibilities,” said Bouwens, who teaches an engine performance class at South Paulding. “At [Atlanta Motor Speedway], there’s no telling who’ll be there.”
The South Paulding team will compete against Dodge County, Forsyth Central, Peach County and Thomas County Central high schools from Georgia and East Ridge High School from Chattanooga, Tenn. Both Forsyth Central and Thomas County Central are scheduled to have two teams participating. One of Thomas County Central’s teams is all female.
Forsyth Central’s team ranked ninth in a recent national competition. Peach County and Thomas County Central ranked among the top five.
Each team typically delegates duties among each other during the competition. One person is assigned to handle tool table organization, with the other four handling specific areas of the engine, according to information from Atlanta Motor Speedway. The engines have to be rebuilt and in a condition to be started when finished.
Bouwens said the team’s completion time typically is about 25 minutes.
Members include senior and team leader Jakob Hermetz, 18; seniors Gregory Leonard and Joshua Ferguson, both 18; and juniors Dylan Lister, 18, and Christopher Focht, 17.
He said the team was invited to the Saturday event after participating in similar Skills USA auto service technology competitions. Skills USA is a nonprofit student organization formerly known as Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA), and South Paulding has one of the largest chapters in the state at 130 members.