Brett Payne and Clarence Hughes, led by instructor Kevin Smith, won the Tennessee competition Thursday in Nashville, to earn a spot in the National Finals at Ford Motor Company World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., June 8-10.
There, the duo will compete for millions in scholarship dollars, the opportunity to earn a job shadow experience with Wood Brothers Racing and the possibility of being crowned “America’s Best Student Auto Technicians.”
“Each year, the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition brings together the country’s best future automotive technicians,” noted Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group.
“The competition is just one of the ways AAA and Ford demonstrate their commitment to helping students and building awareness of career opportunities in the automotive service industry.”
At the National Finals, Payne and Hughes will have their automotive skills tested with a written exam and timed event.
During the competition they will be required to diagnose and repair intentionally installed “bugs” on a Ford vehicle.
The road to the national finals requires much preparation. To earn their spots, Payne and Hughes needed to successfully complete an online test of their automotive knowledge in January.
They then advanced to the Tennessee State Finals, where they competed against other pairs of high school students in a hands-on competition similar to the national finals.
Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition that offers millions of dollars in scholarships and prizes to high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians.
Approximately 13,000 students from across the U.S. compete for the chance to represent their school and state in the National Finals. The competition tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities.