New National Record for EOC Tech’s Hot Rodders Team
From the left: Connor Carrizales, Instructor Jim LaFevers, Moroso Rep Frank Thidobeau, Nick Brown Ryan Campbell, Connor Hixenbaugh, Alex Versteeg, Callie Hunt
Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center was a rookie in the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge four short years ago.
Despite the odds, EOC Tech’s Automotive Program placed 4th in the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge during their rookie year (2010). The second (2011) and third (2012) years of competition, the team took 2nd place. Instructor Jim LaFevers and his students were closing in on 1st place and they could feel the pressure. With the competition just weeks away, LaFevers brought an idea to his students that could possibly shave minutes off their time.
Finally, on Dec. 14, Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center’s Automotive Program was crowned the 2013 National Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge Champions in Indianapolis - racing capital of the world.
Sponsored by Moroso, EOC Tech’s Automotive Program set the national average for the competition from three engine builds. Their average time came in at 19 minutes and 15 seconds, beating out the old national average by 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
On top of winning the national championship, the gentlemen from EOC Tech, also known as Team Moroso, set a new national record for the fastest engine teardown and build with a time of 18 minutes and 43 seconds, beating the previous national record. Held by Team Motive Gear from Loara High School in Southern Calif., the previous national record was 19 minutes and 11 seconds, set back in 2011.
Team Moroso from EOC is comprised of one instructor and five students. These five students are chosen through their skills with both a wrench and a textbook. Each student must be able to perform out in the shop and maintain academic excellence within the classroom. LaFevers has been teaching the Automotive Program at EOC Tech for 24 years and understands what qualities matter most in his students’ future careers.
LaFevers teaches the importance of academic skills because his students receive thousands of dollars in scholarships each year from various winning competitions. In 2013 alone, Hot Rodders of Tomorrow has given away $2,000,000 in scholarships. This year, the students from Team Moroso won more than $250,000 in scholarships from the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Competition’s sponsors.
The team received over $75,000 in scholarships at their regional competition and $180,000 at the national competition. Because of these scholarships, LaFevers feels even stronger about these students and their academic abilities. LaFevers understands the impact that a free college education can make on a student and his family.
The Engine Challenge is sponsored by all of the major companies that you would expect to see at a high performance Event. Companies such as Winner’s Circle, Moroso, Energy Suspension, Painless Performance, Edelbrock, Hedman, K & N, and Royal Purple just to name a few from the 35 plus sponsors.
Having all of the biggest names in the business under the same roof gives students the opportunity to shake hands with CEO’s and company scouts who are looking for experienced and professional individuals who have a passion their industry.
Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center could not be more proud of what these students have accomplished. Hard work and self-discipline will always pay off and these students are learning this principal first hand.
After about the third engine build at top speed, both mentally and physically, with five other individuals and making sure that everything goes back in exactly how it came out, things can become a bit hectic. Who would have thought there would be a need for students to wear helmets to take an engine apart and put it back together? However, after a few torque wrenches to the head, modifications had to be made.
The spirit of the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge can only be truly understood by witnessing an event for oneself. There is something about watching students go through the ups and downs of working within a team. Nearly every student walks away from this competition having learned a one or more new life lessons that essential for success.
The Engine Challenge shows students the importance of preplanned coordination, patience, communication and most of all teamwork. Without teamwork, no team can be truly successful.