The Hot Rodders of Tomorrow program is one in which teams from across the nation’s high schools compete against one another in the timed disassembly and reassembly of a spec engine three times, with the times then averaged, combined with a 50-question written test. With the lowest time possible the ultimate goal, time penalties can be awarded for mistakes made or improper procedures followed.
At the end of every year of competition, there is a dual national championship held, at both the SEMA Show in Las Vegas and the PRI Show in Indianapolis, where teams compete to become one of the top four seeds, before facing off in the final Elite Eight showdown.
Coming to the PRI Show with their spots already locked in from the SEMA round of the championship – in order of raking – were Team Custom Automotive Network (CAN), from Eastern Oklahoma Technology Center out of Choctaw, OK; Team Canton Racing Products, Lakeshore High School in Stevensville, MI; Team Mr. Gasket, C D Hylton High School from Woodbridge, PA; and team Edelbrock, Hunter High School from West Valley City, UT.
Earning their spot in the Elite Eight at the PRI Show – again in order of ranking – were Team Vibrant Performance, from Burton Center for Arts & Tech in Salem, VA; Team Allstar Performance also from Forsyth Central High School in Cumming, GA; Team RHS Racing Heads from Forsyth Central High School in Cumming, GA, and Team Engine & Performance Warehouse from Elkhart Area Career Center, Elkhart, IN.
The final Elite Eight battle was extremely close, with each team scoring at least one perfect engine rebuild. As the scores were tallied, it was Team Vibrant Performance, from Burton Center for Arts & Tech in Salem, VA sitting at the top of the scoring sheet, with an average time of 17:28, which was over a minute quicker than the top qualifying effort from the SEMA round, and almost a minute quicker than the team’s top-qualifying effort at PRI.
This marks the third national Championship for Team Vibrant Performance’s captain, Chris Overfelt, as well as the first time a coach has participated who has also been a participant and judge, with Drew Graham of Team Moroso earning the trifecta. 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.