A two-student team from Lompoc High placed in the top 10 nationally at the 2015 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals this morning. The competition, sponsored by Ford Motor Company and AAA, is designed to find the best automotive technology students across the U.S.
Lompoc High’s Angel Torralba and Juan Zamora took 47 minutes and 29 seconds to repair their deliberately bugged 2015 Ford Mustang Fastback at Ford Motor Company world headquarters, earning sixth place in the competition. The California student team submitted a car to judges which contained just one repair work demerit. But Oregon’s quickest hands-on finish pushed them over the top to win the competition. Oregon also won the 2013 competition and placed fourth last year.
The top six finishers in today’s national finals were: Oregon, Alaska, North Carolina, Hawaii, Virginia and California.
The Lompoc students were coached by Lompoc High Instructor Michael Johnson. This was at least his second trip to the national finals as an instructor.
The annual competition gives auto tech students the opportunity to showcase their automotive problem-solving capabilities by resolving “real world” vehicle repair challenges in a timed, head-to-head match-up of top teams from 50 states.
About 11,500 high school juniors and seniors competed in this year’s competition with $12 million in scholarships offered. The 6th-place California team received thousands of dollars in scholarships to pursue their automotive education, along with assorted prizes and trophies.
“The California team of Angel and Juan did great!” said Johnson. “They exceeded my expectations during this competition. To finish up on the winners stage at this national competition is a great accomplishment by these young men,” Johnson added.
Torralba and Zamora submitted a nearly perfectly repaired Ford Mustang for judging, according to Johnson. The repairs included properly diagnosing and repairing multiple problems with the Ford Mustang, he said. The “bugs” ranged from bad fuses, and other vehicle malfunctions that needed to be fixed, he added.
Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition Chairman and the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Specialist Avo Asdourian said, “Our students did a great job today. Angel and Juan finished very well in the highly competitive national final. This is an outstanding achievement and we’re very proud of them.”
The competition, which is geared toward students looking to jumpstart their automotive careers, is especially relevant for today’s recovering economy, as car owners are putting more money into repair and maintenance to avoid a new car purchase. The U.S. Dept. of Labor reports that this trend, as well as advancements in automotive technology, means an increase in the demand for quality repair work and a rise in job opportunities for those automotive technicians who complete postsecondary education—something the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition helps students pursue by offering scholarships.
Find today’s Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals updates and photographs on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AutoSkills and also at Twitter.com/AAAauto. High resolution photos of the top-10 teams with trophies and action photos from today’s competition will be made available to download at Flickr.com/AutoSkills. Official team photos also are available in high resolution format on Flickr.com/AutoSkills.
In May, the Lompoc High team won the California competition with the highest score among 10 two-student teams at the Wally Parks NHRA Museum at the Fairplex in Pomona. The Lompoc High students each won scholarships, and prizes for finishing first.