Ruben on the Road: Dimmitt Auto Tech thriving after competing in Las Vegas

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 11:22 AM CST
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DIMMITT, Texas (KFDA) - Ruben makes a stop at Dimmitt High School and learns about the Dimmitt Auto Tech program competing in Las Vegas.

Jose Gonzalez, auto tech instructor at Dimmitt High School, says the goal is to get people ready for hands-on stuff.

“So we got into the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow with this 350 engine. So how it works, these guys got to tear it down in 33 minutes to qualify to go to SEMA,” said Gonzalez.

The team qualified last year and went to the Specialty Equipment Market Association show and got 11th out of 16 teams.

Senior Marco Chavez says he felt good and proud.

“I kind of felt like, you know, ‘Oh, we’re the first ones, all the way to Las Vegas,’” said Chavez.

Gonzalez says when the team qualified, they got money.

“So each one of these guys, we came back with $30,000. They each get $5,000. So that’s the main reason, but the other main reason is for them to get hands on, you know, getting ready for the real world,” said Gonzalez.

When they tear it down, Gonzalez says they have to do the torque sequence and everything has to be just like it would when it came out of the factory.

Chavez says he works on the left side of the engine.

“I take the head off, the headers, the Pistons and all that. There was all kinds of ways to do things, like we did it differently and they did it way different. So we got some tips from them just watching and just listening,” said Chavez.

Gonzalez says it was funny at first.

“You know, they had some butterflies and you know, they were messing up here and there, but they got it together and we had a real bad run and then we came back,” said Gonzalez.

The team came back and moved up from 12th place, so they were grateful they got the opportunity. Gonzalez says they finally calmed down and got it done.

“This is just the building part of it and you know, from here on out we’re hoping to take at least two teams. You know, I had one freshman and I’m hoping to get him and some more guys up there this next year,” said Gonzalez.