Teams test skills in car-repair work

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AUBURN – Ten teams of students from Maine high schools competed in the 2006 Ford/AAA Automotive Skills Competition at Central Maine Community College on May 16.

The competition involves a written exam, and the 10 teams with the highest score on that moved to the “hands-on” competition during which they diagnosed and repaired uniformly “bugged” vehicles. Teams were scored on a combination of written and hands-on performances.

The winning team, from Portland Arts and Technology High School, will represent Maine at the National Skills Competition in June. Team members are Kyle Simpson and Bryan Conley; instructor, Vincent Olsen. The team scored first in the written portion, and Conley was the individual first-place finisher for the state.

A second Portland team won second. Other teams were: Capitol Area Technical Center, third; Waldo County Technical Center, fourth; Lake Region Vocational Center, Naples, fifth; United Technologies Center, Bangor, sixth; Lewiston Regional Technical Center, seventh; Oxford Hills Technical School, eighth; Biddeford Regional Center of Technology, ninth; and a second team from Capitol Area Technical Center, 10th.

NASCAR driver Ricky Craven served as Grand Marshal for the competition and spoke to the students and their supporters before the awards ceremony. Citing his own experience in racing, he told the audience “the fastest car doesn’t always win.” He said that “successful people have talent or ambition; extraordinary people have both.” Noting that the participants demonstrated talent, he encouraged them to work hard for what they want in life.

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