PALATINE HIGH SCHOOL WINS HIGH SCHOOL PIT CREW COMPETITION

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Click here for photos of Saturday's High School Pit Crew Contest.

Palatine High school has earned the bragging rights as the Champions of the 2002 Local 701 and Route 66 Raceway High School Pit Crew Challenge during the Route 66 Raceway Season Opener.

Eighteen different high schools participated in Saturday?s event under the watchful eyes of the spectators, Local 701 and International Mechanics Union. Teams of five students from each school worked together like a well-oiled machine to completely strip and rebuild and engine. Palatine High School was victorious in completing the task in the least amount of time and the least amount of penalties.

In a close second and third was team Hoffman Estates and team Willowbrook High School.

Palatine High School participants included students Vincent Czyz, Joel Dufkis, Alex Larson, Steve Thunder and Charly Turner all from the hometown of Palatine, Illinois. Their instructor is Mr. Roger Basrak.

?Today was great!? commented Basrak of his team?s performance. ?It was an excellent experience. This gave the students a chance to show off their skills and hard work, something that they normally don?t get a chance to do. We have been looking forward to this. This is a victory for this team, their class, and the entire Palatine High School.?

Twenty peers from Palatine High School elected the team of five seniors to participate on their behalf. ?The class voted on who they thought would best represent Palatine High School, ? said Basrak, ?and they were right, I couldn?t be more proud. They really wanted this, I thought I would have to duct tape Alex to keep him from jumping out of his own skin he was so excited.?

?This was important to us,? commented team member Alex Larson. ?This was really fun and really important to me because this what I have to look forward to. This is my future right here.?

Teammate Steve Thunder was equally excited and happy to be at Route 66 Raceway. ?This was cool. We had to adjust to a few things with the tools and engine, but had a great time doing it. We also got to see some racing, and got lots of free stuff. This track is incredible.?

Not only was it a victory for Palatine High School, but it was a welcome birthday present for Joel Dufkis who turned 18 years old on Saturday. ?This was a lot of work, but well worth it. We all met before school for the last three days to practice for today.? It was obvious their hard work and dedication paid off.

Despite the competition, participants had a good time during the day?s events. ?This was a lot of fun,? said Charly Turner. ?I?m a senior this year, but I wish I could do it next year too. This was my first time to see drag racing at Route 66 Raceway.?

Perhaps the relief and pride of a job well done was best expressed by the few words spoken by team member Vincent Czyz when he said ?We had a great team, the best team and we held it all together. This has been a great day.?

Hoffman Estates High School participants included Chase Stewart, Matt Evans, Derric Johnson, Oliver Urrego, and Cheryl Poloncyzk all of Hoffman Estates. Their teacher was Rob Richards.

Willowbrook High School #88 participants included Jeff Biernat (Lombard, IL), Adam Wright (Villa Park, IL), Mathew Piersconek (Lombard, IL), Ryan Dunk (Lombard, IL), and Ken Anderson (Villa Park, IL). Willowbrook High School teachers are Brian Elliot and Tim Clements.

Other schools participating in the challenge were Jaurez High School (Chicago, IL), Glenbard North High School (Glen Ellyn, IL), Hoffman Estates High School (Palatine, IL), Lyons Township High School (LaGrange, IL), Palatine High School (Palatine, IL), Carl Schurz High School (Chicago, IL), Technology Center of Dupage (Addison, IL), Thorton Township High School (South Holland, IL), York Community High School (Elmhurst, IL), Farragut High School (Chicago, IL) Merrilville High School (Merrillville, IN), Indian Valley Vocational Center (Sandwich, IL), Niles West High School (Skokie, IL), Grundy County Career Center (Morris, IL), Tilden High School (Chicago, IL), Willowbrook High School (Villa Park, IL), Wheeling High School (Wheeling, IL), and Glenbrook High School (Glenview, IL).

The action will continue Sunday, April 28 as ten schools from local college and technical schools complete the Route 66 Raceway pit Crew Challenge. Competition begins at noon.

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