A loose handle cost two Evans High School automotive students a chance at a top-10 finish in a national competition held last week.
Derrick Jackson and Ryan Cutcliffe, both recent graduates of Evans High School, placed 21st in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition held in Dearborn, Mich., held June 25-28.
The students were required to complete nine repairs on a 2006 Ford Mustang during the competition. The duo completed all the required repairs but missed a loose trunk release handle that cost them.
"If they wouldn't have taken off for that small thing, we would have had up around 10th place," Cutcliffe said.
"We had a perfect car," he said. "We fixed everything. I think there were 16 perfect cars and we were one of them. We had this one stupid thing."
The teens said they still enjoyed their time in Dearborn.
In addition to the competition, which featured teams from all 50 states, competitors enjoyed banquets, a tour of a Ford F-150 pickup manufacturing plant and a tour of Henry Ford Museum.
"I thought I was just going to see cars, but they had a whole bunch of different things like trains and planes that I didn't even know the Ford company had anything to do with," Jackson said.
He said the visit to the Ford production plant was an eye-opening experience.
"I had never seen anything like it before," he said. "I didn't see it being as big as it was and all the stuff they have there."
It was the second consecutive year that Evans High produced a state championship automotive team.
Both Jackson and Cutcliffe plan to pursue auto industry careers.
Jackson will attend Universal Technical Institute in Houston in the fall to study automotive and diesel repair.
Cutcliffe will attend Georgia Southern University to study mechanical engineering with an emphasis in automotive engineering.
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