Greg Damon, 43, a shop manager and lead technician with Sant Automotive in Crestwood, Mo., bested two other top-notch finalists to come out on top in BP Amoco's second annual Amoco Ultimate Golden Mechanic contest.
Competing against Mr. Damon during the recent Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas were Scott Davidson, 41, owner and lead tech of Davidson Garage in Dayton, Ohio, and John Vallely, 46, president of McLean Auto Repair in Elgin, Ill.
The three techs pitted their automotive skills and wits against each other in competitions that included mounting four tires on three identical Saleen Mustangs; removing, gapping and re-installing four spark plugs; and answering technically challenging vehicle repair questions.
Mr. Damon, chosen by four automotive industry-related judges as the top tech, received $25,000 and a year's worth of BP fuel and will travel the country as Amoco's ``ultimate spokesperson.'' He replaces Ryan Kooiman, winner of BP's 2005 contest.
>From June 19 to Aug. 11, independent auto technicians over the age of 21 were eligible to enter the contest.
Prior to the nationwide competition, Chuck Grawey, vice president of BP's Fuels Management Group, said the company wanted to ``reward the mechanic who consistently goes above and beyond in the garage, providing quality service to his or her customers each day. Our ideal candidate has premium auto repair skills, a charismatic personality, is active in his or her community and is environmentally conscious.''
Mr. Damon is an ASE-certified master automobile technician with an advanced level specialist certification in engine performance, certified under car specialist and a Gateway Clean Air Program recognized repair technician. In addition to his shop duties, he also hosts a weekly automotive radio talk program on KMOX-AM in St. Louis that focuses on car care and maintenance, and he is co-host of a weekly NASCAR program on the same station.