Most kids are already home from school this time of day, but inside the automotive shop at Peach County High School, the engine building team is tuning up for a big weekend.
"This weekend, we’re going to Atlanta Motor Speedway for a Summit Racing event," Caleb Carter, a sophomore says. "We’re just going to do a demo build for everyone."
Several teams of five–in Peach County’s case, four sophomores and a freshman–will completely tear down an engine. Then, as fast as possible, they’ll rebuild it.
"It’s a complete teardown with the exception of the camshaft and crankshaft coming out of the engine," Johnny Rickerson, automotive instructor at PCHS explains. "Everything has to go to the table. At that point, they will go back behind the table. The judges will give them the thumbs up and they will continue and put this engine completely back together."
They do all this using no power tools. Don’t think this is a day-long event, either. They’re usually done in less than half an hour.
"Every time we do a build, we’ve always got to have teamwork involved," Carter says. "If one person messes up, it just messes up everybody."
While Saturday’s event won’t be a competition, it will be a chance to see how the guys stack up. PCHS is currently ranked third in the country.
"The good thing about this event is the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 teams are going to be there going head-to-head," Rickerson says.
When these kids head to college, they’ll be backed by plenty of scholarship money. They’ll also have a set of skills to last a lifetime.
"They’ve found something," Bruce Mackey, PCHS principal says. "They’ve found their niche. As a high school student, that’s what you’re hoping for, and as a principal, that’s what you’re hoping for."
The Summit Racing Equipment Atlanta Motorama is set for Saturday and Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It’ll have everything from lawnmower races to a car-crushing exhibition featuring Bigfoot the monster truck.
Peach County demonstrates its engine build Saturday at 11 and 3. This winter, they’ll compete at nationals in Las Vegas.
For more info about this weekend’s event, including ticket prices, click here.