Matthew Whitaker and Oliver Dalman of Vale, Oregon walked away with more than $200,000 in scholarships for their winning effort in the 2005 Student Auto Skills National Finals. Two-man teams from each state were each faced with a Ford Focus that was deliberately rigged with a variety of technical problems (Focus, technical problems… must resist urge to make a wisecrack). The teams were judged not only on speed, but also on the quality of the repairs. Drawing more than 6,000 high-school students every year and sponsored by Ford and AAA, the competition annually awards more than $2 million in scholarships. Considering the demand for qualified repair technicians, let's hope the contest continues to bring bring young people into the auto-repair industry.

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