Metal Rods Become Hot Rods
Drag racers from Pat Bennett’s shop in Amherst County have claimed top prizes in National and International Hot Rod Association events — including Pro Modified classes. But the awards on the walls of his shop aren’t just for speed; his cars have also earned awards for “Best Engineered” in their class.
Considering the stresses his vehicles have to endure, that engineering is critical. Bennett’s cars carry engines in excess of 700 cubic inches, generating more than 2,000 horsepower! With top speeds well above 200 miles per hour, these racers will burn more than a gallon of fuel in just a quarter mile. Their frames have to be incredibly strong (and precisely constructed) to withstand that kind of performance.
Bennett builds these frames from the ground up, and it’s amazing to think that these speed machines begin life as nothing more than a pile of 24-foot-long metal rods. Bennett and his crew take these rods and painstakingly cut, bend, weld, and shape them into a sturdy chassis that will soon be housed in a sleek body shell.
The process takes several months, and every step requires a craftsman’s eye plus expert metalworking skills. These same skills can be acquired at CVCC — and they’re just as valuable for your career whether you’re hoping to build high-performance race cars, or high-tech industrial machinery.