Team COMP Cams from Burton Center for Arts and Technology shaved more than two minutes off their qualifying time to take the No. 1 spot in the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge finale Dec. 7-10 at PRI Show in Indianapolis.
The team of high school students was among 43 to qualify for the national dual championship, with 20 competing at SEMA Show and 23 at PRI Show to determine the Elite Eight for the final battle. Each Elite Eight team competed in three rounds and had their times averaged to determine final results.
Team COMP Cams’ average time to strip and then reassemble an engine was 17 minutes, 43.3 seconds for the win. Forsyth Central High School and Peach County High School placed second and third, respectively. Belvidere North High School, the first all-girl team to ever make it to the finals, secured the fourth spot, followed by Fremd High School #1, Elkhart Area Career Center, C D Hylton High School and Fremd High School #2.
The win was BCAT’s second; a team from the school set a single-round national record of 16 minutes, 22 seconds in 2014 for the first win. Two members from that winning team — Jacob Hurley and Zach Duncan — were on this year’s team, as well. Second-year team member Tyler Prosperi helped BCAT to a third-place national finish in 2015. Joining the team for the first time in 2016 were Trent Martin, Nick Karnes, Cole Anderson and Ryan Lyles.
Chris Overfelt, the team’s welding and motorsports technology instructor at BCAT, said he was proud of the students for pulling together after their first Elite Eight round “didn’t go very well.”
“Earlier in the day, we got the chance to have Antron Brown speak to all the Hot Rodders teams,” Overfelt said. “He said in his meeting that any great motorsports team has won a championship, it was won by the team not by one person. I told my team now is the time to rally around each other. I told them they were a good team, now let’s go win a National title.
“After the second run we were in first,” he continued. “On Saturday, the second place team ran before us, so we knew what their base time was, even if they didn’t have penalties, so I told my guys don’t try for the national record, which they wanted back. I told them go get the national title, not the national record. And they did.”
During the Engine Challenge, team members must work simultaneously on their designated parts of the engine, very close to each other and using only hand tools. They have to be quick but precise, not dropping components or bumping those components or tools together. All adjustments and measurements are also checked. Each mistake can result in seconds or minutes lost.
“This year, my team practiced hard to be accurate and quick,” Overfelt said.