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Santa Maria High Race Team makes history at professional drag race

santa maria race team.jpeg
Posted at 5:49 PM, Feb 24, 2020

Santa Maria High School is making history in a place you might not expect.

The school's race team was the first high school team to compete in a professional National Hot Rod Association drag race.

Santa Maria is one of the few high schools across the country that gives its students the opportunity to join a race team.

"We were able to get to Pomona and it's the first time in history, according to the NHRA, the first time in history that a student-built car has ever competed in a national event," said Matt Almaguer, race club adviser.

The Santa Maria Saints racing Camaro had to be completely rebuilt by the students to get the race car ready for Super Street Class.

"Brayan had to weld some of the parts in the bottom, Jose had to work on the engine, I was inside in the back taking out the rivets so we can put in a new base," explained Christopher Pintor, student crew member.

Earlier in February, the Saints' rebuilt car was lining up against professional teams across the country.

"It makes me proud," said Alizè Torres, student crew member.

"It's still pretty surreal because we never had felt this, so we don't know what to compare it to," said Hazel Perez, student crew member.

Despite being teens in high school, the long nights, weekend shifts, and hard work they put into the program made the students feel ready to compete with the best.

"It gets us kind of nervous because we're not going against high schools anymore, we're going against pros, but us knowing the work and time that we put in here, we feel somewhat secure about it because we know what we put in there," Pintor said.

While the team did not come out on top, they say it was a great learning experience and something they'll never forget.

"No matter win or lose, like Mr. A says, we're in this together," Torres said.

The Santa Maria High School race team is currently looking for sponsors to help them get to other events in the future.