Holley/MSD Title Rights Sponsors of the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow
The brainchild of Jim Bingham, whose three old-school speed shops in Illinois still thrive in today's online world, its popularity has exploded since the program began in 2008. As teams win and advance, the winning times keep getting shorter. Less than 10 years ago, 44-minute times were required to win the nationals; now a 34-minute time wouldn't even qualify. The current record is an astounding 17:47 by Burton Center #2 from Salem, Va.
Students compete to reach the finals at the SEMA Show and the PRI show, and it's not just bragging rights that the master mechanics of the future are after – every member of the winning team gets a $10,000 scholarship to one of five schools: the University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH), the School of Automotive Machinists & Technology (SAM Tech), the Ohio Technical College (OTC), the Universal Technical Institute (UTI), or WyoTech. Second-place students receive $9,500 scholarships, third place gets a $9,000 scholarship, and every student that makes the finals gets at least a $5,000 scholarship.
"It's amazing what this has turned into," said Bingham, who receives invaluable assistance at competitions all across the country from his son, Rodney. "The kids put a lot of heart and a lot of work into this, and they're exactly what colleges are looking for because they know these kids aren't sitting around, doing nothing in their spare time. They're go-getters."
Each team is sponsored by an aftermarket manufacturer and five teams have backing from the Holley family of brands: Holley, MSD, Hooker, Blackheart, and Mr. Gasket. "Brands like Holley are what really drive this program, and it's getting bigger all time," Bingham said. "There's even a program – the Jr. Engine Challenge – so kids as young as five years old can get involved and know that there's a great future for them in this industry."
For more information on the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow program, click here.
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