High School Grad Driven to Succeed

9 years 5 months 3 weeks ago March 29, 2007 Mar 29, 2007 Thursday, March 29 2007 Thursday, March 29, 2007 6:16:17 PM CDT in News

Thousands of college-bound freshmen will rev their car engines as they begin the time-honored tradition of moving away from home.

But, Hickman High School graduating senior Justin Rybolt isn't revving his own engine, as he prepares to leave home for a high-powered education.

"I've mainly worked on cars, regular gas engines, since I was about 11," he recalled. "Ten or 11 years old is when I first tore apart a small-block 350 Chevrolet motor and my step-dad helped me put it back together."

Rybolt hopes to turn his interest in powerful engines into a career by attending Nashville Auto-Diesel this August. It'll be his first time away from Missouri, but he's confident the Tennessee school is the one for him.

"I'm going to take their high-performance class, it's kind of like majors in NASCAR," he said. "They teach you how their motors can handle such high RPM for such a long period of time and how their suspension works, how it sets up, how they're so fast at everything."

Rybolt isn't the only person who's proud of his decision not to go to college. His dad also supports the non-traditional move.

"He's a good, hard worker and I think it's going to be a good break for him in life," he said. "If he gets in there and studies hard, and I know he will, I think this is going to be a big help for him and his career for a life-long thing. I'm impressed that he's doing it, and I hope he sticks with it. I mean, he deserves it. He works hard for it, so I'm glad to see this happen for him."

Instead of a traditional four-year college career, Rybolt will attend Nashville Auto-Diesel for 15 months, then graduate with a diploma certifying him to work on all diesel-engine vehicles, from NASCAR to construction equipment.

"The thought of a machine that weighs 30,000 pounds and moves on tracks, there ain't much that can stop it, you know?" he said. "To work on that, I think, would be awesome."

Rybolt would love to work the NASCAR circuit, but people watching TV at home most likely won't see him in the pits. His own drive to succeed will put him in the garage, helping his team to a NASCAR win.

With producers Alyah Khan and Karen Mitchell.

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