What a week it's been. 38 teams of builders have been putting their engines through the paces and we're down to the last three runs. Right this minute Hot Heads Research is getting their Mopar hooked onto the dyno, tightening and tuning. On deck in the other dyno cell is Judson Massingill from the School of Automotive Design. The final contestant of the day will be last year's winner Jon Kaase of Jon Kaase Racing.
Tonight there will be an awards banquet for the builders while the top six engines remain locked in quarantine, untouchable till rolled out for the final day's runs tomorrow. Two teams will receive checks for $1,000 courtesy AMSOIL for highest torque and highest horsepower of the week. But tomorrow is the big prize... The numbers will tell the story.
We asked one of the students, Craig Buckets, to tell us a little about this school that hosts the AMSOIL Engine Masters Challenge, University of Northwestern Ohio. "We have an automotive program, a diesel program, an alternative fuels program and then we are actually back right now in the high performance program. I’d say right now we’ve probably got somewhere between 1,000-1,500 kids in the high performance area. We do just about everything as far as even in the high performance building. We do stuff like wiring stereo systems, pinstriping and airbrushing, anything involving power trains, engines, transmissions, rear ends, high performance steering & suspension set ups. We do welding, fabrication, chassis work, whatever. We’ll teach you how to mill stuff. The amount of equipment that we have here definitely helps us keep busy."
"This is just a great experience for the students. We get to talk to a lot of these engine builders and hopefully they will impart some of their knowledge to us, it’s just what you can squeak out of them. It just depends on what some of these guys are into. Some of the stock car racers are a little more into chassis building and getting all your steering stuff set up and they are not quite into the engines. Then we have other guys that are into doing engines and transmissions and all that drive train stuff."
Many of the instructors told us how really wonderful this experience is for the students, even beyond these walls. For example, last year's winner Jon Kaase stopped at the UNOH booth last year at the PRI Show to visit with the students. He then took them for a walk around the show floor and gave them insights into all the various things going on, sharing lessons with the appreciative students there.
Just a few minutes ago the Hot Heads teams got some rum luck as detonation caused two head gaskets to blow, with sparks flying and a a lot of excitement in the room. As we entered the dyno cell, was could see water pouring out in a stream... and Dan Miller's crew ended with a DNF. A dramatic moment here as the last two teams set their sights on pushing two more engines out of quarantine.
Oh no. Judson Massingill's Ford engine failed to run its paces. Never even got to run a pull. They're bummed. Two DNFs in a row. We're down to one final competitor, last year's champion... and we're setting up. Nothing is wholly predictable, however, and no one is taking anything for granted.
Till next, from UNOH and the AMSOIL Engine Masters Challenge.