A truck built by students from Lincoln Educational Services' South Plainfield, N.J., campus took first place in its class at the 2013 Diesel Nationals in Englishtown, N.J., last month.
The Lincoln team invested more than a year in securing parts and equipment, planning, and actually building the truck, which completed a quarter-mile run in 17.008 seconds at more than mph.
The project began in the spring of 2012, when what Jay Rasmussen, executive director of the South Plainfield campus, describes as a "water cooler discussion" started to take on a life of its own.
An outdated R Model Mack truck was slated for removal from the campus' diesel bay to make room for more current equipment. Instead of sending it to a scrap yard, the director of education, along with faculty and Lincoln students, developed a plan to rebuild it, then race it.
Lincoln's CEO Shaun McAlmont says it was no surprise that they brought home the trophy. The South Plainfield is the only Lincoln campus in New Jersey to offer Diesel and Truck Technology training. "Our students' ability to turn an outdated vehicle into one that can not only race, but win, speaks to the quality of the training taking place there every day."
Rasmussen cites several local vendors who were instrumental in helping the Lincoln team complete its mission: Atlantic Detroit for supplying transmission and engine components and electronic controls; Hawk's Towing and Trenton Collision Center for its contributions of truck paint and body work; Davco for its donation of a fuel filtering system; NEMF for a rebuilt steering box; and Snap-on Tools for an extensive donation of tools and equipment.
While the Lincoln team took some time to savor their victory, Rasmussen says they are already looking ahead to next year. "The engine was still cooling when plans were already being hatched for 2014 to make the truck even faster," he says. "So if any other schools would like to challenge us, we look forward to seeing you there next year!"