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Performance & Hotrod Business - December '14

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December 2014 n Performance & Hotrod Business n 39 Examples of topics covered include how cars work, tool identification, build- ing and installing engines, and body and rear-end work. Current events and issues also inspire class curriculum. For exam- ple, racing safety was discussed after the untimely death of actor Paul Walker. "We take them to tour facilities of local manufacturers and shops," Cleveland says. "We try to expose them to as many areas and experiences as possible in the automo- tive industry." Larger than Life Once the program got off the ground, DRAGG was able to add another project car—a 2014 Ford Focus ST. The vehicle, which was displayed at the 2013 SEMA Show along with DRAGG's Mustang, has a 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four- cylinder engine, Ford Racing intake sys- tem, Borla exhaust system, Ford Racing/ Steeda short-throw shifter, Vortech front intercooler, Eibach Pro-Kit springs and sway bars and 19-inch Motegi Wheels, provided (and powder-coated) by AV Tire Service. The Focus' police package includes push bars, emergency light bar, Street Scene Equipment front lip, Cobra rac- ing seats, RST spoiler by FocusRush.com, Rally Innovations harness bar and custom paint by Commercial Auto Body. "We kind of look at our cars now as mascots of our program," Shrubb says. "We have two cars and an outfitted van to transport the kids around. I never expected so much." While DRAGG has garnered many sup- porters, Shrubb says funding and making plans to grow are still obstacles. "It's not easy because people want to know where their money is going and how it's affecting the community," Shrubb says. "It's not a matter of creating interest, but the fact that we want to grow and have all the right components in place. Because we're working with children and youth, we have to make sure the decisions we make are in their best interests." Schools, as well as fire and police departments in other municipalities, have expressed interest in launching their own DRAGG programs. Shrubb and Woodruff are open to expanding, but will proceed cautiously to make sure all of the kids are taken care of. "We're working on our model right now, but our long-time goal is to have it at other agencies," Woodruff says. "Our No. 1 goal is to help the kids; everything else is just extra." Other possible initiatives include ren- ovation and upgrading a vehicle to auc- tion off for fundraising and marketing purposes and acquiring more funding for scholarships, possibly even a full-ride to a nationally recognized automotive college, Woodruff says. "We've been able to meet the greatest people in the auto industry in the past three or four years," Shrubb says. "We feel so blessed. It's been a lot of work and we're kind of tripping over our shoelaces as we go here, but it's a huge support base and we're excited for what's to come." The Mustang is equipped with a 4.6-liter V-8 engine with variable timing and three valves per cylinder.

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