Visiting the NASCAR Hall of Fame This post, the first in a series, was written by Christie Hyde from AAAs national office as she accompanies the winners of the 2011 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition, students Matthew Saunders and Drew Torrey of Vale, Ore., as they shadow a Roush Fenway Racing team.
Some 10,000 high school automotive technology juniors and seniors competed this year for nearly $12 million in scholarships. Students that surpassed an online exam paired up at the state finals to diagnose and repair bugged Ford vehicles. Top teams moved to the national finals at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., where Vale High Schools Matthew Saunders and Drew Torrey took the national title with the highest written exam score and fastest repair time. In addition to winning scholarships and tools, the students and their instructor spent a week shadowing a Roush Fenway Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series team at its North Carolina race shop and Daytona International Speedway.
After flying into Charlotte Douglas Airport, the Student Auto Skills national champs detoured to downtown Charlotte, N.C., to pay tribute to auto racing history and NASCAR legends past and present. The NASCAR Hall of Fame, a AAA GEM attraction, showcases racing suits, memorabilia and interactive exhibits.
Matthew and Drew got a taste of the experience theyll enjoy firsthand at Daytona International Speedway. They competed against each other in race car simulators and walked through a NASCAR race hauler. At Glory Road they viewed historic cars and current and historic tracks showing various degrees of racetrack banking including Talladega Superspeedways impressive 33-degree incline.
Next, the group headed north to the Springhill Suites Charlotte/Concord Mills – Speedway in Concord, N.C., their home base for the next few days. Not surprising, the area teems with attractions for race fans including Charlotte Motor Speedway. Foremost among the NASCAR team race shops is Roush Fenway Racing where the students will get their hands-on look at NASCAR auto techs in action.