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Mon, 12 Nov 2007, 12:10 PM

Johnson Shows WyoTech Student the Experience of a Lifetime in Pomona
Courtesy of Bill Walters

POMONA, Calif. --

Higbee, Stewart and Johnson
Just imagine sitting in class one day at school, daydreaming about working in the big leagues of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. Then, out of the blue, you have a chance to be picked at random as the one student out of nine WyoTech schools to be flown to the races and hang out with a professional race team.

That's exactly what happened to 24-year-old San Jose, California resident, Timothy Higbee, who attends the WyoTech School in Fremont, California.

Higbee had no idea he was headed to the fabled quarter-mile at Pomona on Saturday. "I was picked at random by Carl Blevins," said a grateful Higbee, "he's one of the WyoTech administrators."

Snap-on Tools/WyoTech Pro Stock Suzuki rider Steve Johnson eagerly picked up his special guest and the pair went to dinner at a local In & Out Burger restaurant before retiring for the night. On Saturday Johnson introduce Higbee to the sights and sounds of the prestigious 43rd annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals as a full crewmember of the Snap-on team.

"When I picked Tim up he still looked like he was in shock," Johnson recalled. "I wanted him to get the entire feeling of being on the team so I started as many team members do.with fast food at 11:30 at night."

The next morning Tim was introduced to the team at breakfast and then headed to the race track for Saturday's qualifying sessions.

"I was amazed at how much work it takes to just get the bike out and the pit area ready to work." said Higbee. "Then I got to see the clutch prep and installation, as well as an understanding of how the weather conditions play a part in the size of the jets used in the carburetors."

Higbee enjoyed lunch with the team then watched closely as they 'prepped' the Snap-on Tools Suzuki for qualifying. He got a good idea of just how much work is involved in preparing a motorcycle for one seven-second run down the quarter-mile.

When the bike was ready and the team got the call, Higbee was given a raceday uniform to wear. As they waited in the staging lanes, Steve had a chance to introduce Tim to chief starter, Rick Stewart, and the pair checked out the racing surface and how 'sticky' it was.

After Saturday's pair of qualifying attempts, Tim had the opportunity to watch crew chief Mark Peiser analyze the computer data and make changes to the bike for Sunday's eliminations. All the while, a large group of WyoTech enrollees were touring the pit area with Steve in charge.

"It was awesome," exclaimed Higbee, 24, "I had a great time. It felt really cool to be out there on the starting line. It was a real honor and a privilege. In between rounds we just hung around the pits like we were part of the team, it was really great. Steve Johnson is a hilarious character and a great guy.

"I was really impressed at how fast paced and busy everything was," Higbee expressed. "I'm so happy I choose a technical education. The entire event opened my eyes to how much my education can now help me chase a possible racing career.

"WyoTech was a great choice and as the Official Technical School of the NHRA, it allowed me to experience something I might never have been able to see."

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