Two recent high school graduates from Wisconsin –
winners of last month’s AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. – spent the week of the Coke Zero 400 with Wood Brothers Racing getting an up-close look at how race teams prepare for and manage a Sprint Cup race.
This unique job shadowing experience was part of the Wisconsin team’s prize package for winning the 65th annual technology showdown with teams from each of the 50 states. The contest included a written test and a hands-on element diagnosing and repairing “bugs” planted on their competition vehicle.
Justin Bublitz, 18, and Colt Morris, 17, of Grafton High School in Grafton, Wisc., along with their instructor, Carl Hader, toured the Wood Brothers Racing shop in Harrisburg, N.C., the Roush Fenway Racing shop in Concord, N.C., visited the NASCAR Hall of Fame in downtown Charlotte and are spending race weekend with the Wood Brothers at Daytona International Speedway.
“We’re excited to be part of the AAA Student Auto Skills program,” said Eddie Wood, co-owner of Wood Brothers Racing and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion. “It’s been fun having Justin, Colt and their teacher, Carl, with us this week. We think it’s important to reward achievement in young people and maybe interest them in a career in racing in the process.”
Morris, who along with Bublitz won the competition in Dearborn with a perfect score in the hands-on part of the competition, said, “The week has been amazing. To be close to everything and watch the magic happen is a great experience.”
Bublitz said, “This is insanely fun. It’s mind-blowing the things we’re seeing. It’s so different from working on a normal car. This definitely makes me want to get into racing. Before this I was never a NASCAR fan, but now I’ll probably be a huge NASCAR fan.”
Instructor Hader, a teacher for 35 years, has taken 15 teams to the AAA Auto Skills National Finals and has two wins. He views the race week experience from a much larger perspective.
“I expect the kids to take back to their everyday lives the idea that you should be organized, plan things out ahead of time and that nothing happens by chance,” Hader said. “These race teams do everything they can think of before the race to put their drivers in a position to win.”
Ford Racing PR