Byrd/BCAT students demonstrate award-winning skills for School Board


William Byrd students Ryan Lyles (left) and Zach Duncan are members of the BCAT motorsports team who won the National Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge in Indianapolis in December 2016.
Students from BCAT demonstrated the skills that won them the National Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge last December during the School Board meeting on February 23.

The Roanoke County School Board recognized students from the Burton Center for Arts and Technology (BCAT) who won the National Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge for 2016.

This is the second national championship for the BCAT Motorsports team. Team members won the national title and set a national record for fastest time in 2014. Their championship winning time in 2016 was 17:43.3 minutes.

The students demonstrated their award-winning skills at the February 23 School Board meeting, tearing down and rebuilding an engine in about 17 minutes. William Byrd students Zach Duncan and Ryan Lyles are members of the team, which includes six students. Four work on the engine; one is designated as the tool man; one serves as an alternate.

During the School Board presentation in the gymnasium at the Roanoke County Schools Administrative Offices, the students tore down the engine in 5:33 minutes, and spent the remainder of the time reassembling it.

The national competition was held in Indianapolis in December 2016; the BCAT team competed against 64 others in the National Finals. The team qualified at a competition in Pennsylvania last April.

School Board Chairman Tim Greenway of Vinton and BCAT Principal Jason Suhr congratulated the team members and their Welding/Motorsports instructor and coach Chris Overfelt. Members of the School Board and School Superintendent Dr. Greg Killough presented certificates and rings to the team.

Zach Duncan is a senior at William Byrd High School and BCAT. He has been a member of the competition team for three years and plans a career in old car restoration. His position on the team is “driver’s side head.”

In his years in the Hot Rodders competition, he has accumulated approximately $83,000 in scholarships to enroll in the University of Northwestern Ohio training program. His parents are Dawayne and Rebecca Duncan.

Ryan Lyles is a sophomore at WBHS and BCAT. He serves as an alternate on the team in his first year of competition and his first year at Burton. He plans to make a career in the automotive field. He also has begun accumulating scholarship money for his post-secondary education. His parents are Phil and Dawn Lyles.

Suhr explained to the audience that there are many rules to follow in the competition and time penalties assessed for infractions such as dropped tools. Teams do three runs each; those with the best times advance.

Overfelt said that while he actively coaches the team before the event, he doesn’t attempt to coach from the sidelines during the event. He also said that unlike some other competition teams, the BCAT team built all of their own equipment for the event in their welding and automotive shops.

Their secrets to success are their tremendous ability to work as a team and the countless number of times they practice tearing down and rebuilding, not just during class time, but outside of class on nights and weekends. They were even practicing in the parking lot in Indianapolis before the competition.

Participating in the competitions can be quite expensive. The BCAT Hot Rodders Team, Team Comp Cams, has over 20 sponsors who contribute to enable them to attend competitions. They include Financial Recovery, Mike Atkins Construction, Dalton Construction, Trader Jerry’s, B&M Sheet Metal, Woods Towing, Certified Collision, Kings Hauling and Excavating, Quick Time Towing, Woodings Auto Body, Settlement Services, First Team Auto Mall, Family Chiropractors, Fat Boys Towing, RC Restoration, Scratch Biscuit, Walters Engines, Tommy Wagner Auctions, Rick Woodson Honda, RM Construction, and Mountain Land Machine. Overfelt says that Bojangles is a “huge sponsor” for the team.

More photographs of the BCAT team demonstration at the School Board meeting are available on Tthe Vinton Messenger Facebook page.

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