"Yeah? I'm working on the heater control module," says a seemingly faceless body, half hanging out of the passenger side door and belonging to Justin Ray.
It's just another day at the office for these mechanically-inclined students, and their knowledge of the ins and outs of automotives is about to pay off with some national attention.
The duo will represent Kentucky at the Ford/AAA Auto Skills contest national finals Tuesday in Dearborn, Mich., where they'll compete with 49 other teams - one from each state - for the championship.
At the competition, teams will be provided a Ford Focus with identical set-up problems or "bugs." Whichever team is first to successfully figure out and fix the glitches and drive its car across the finish line takes home the title.
The winning team also gets the opportunity to work alongside professional racing teams in a week-long experience taking it from Roush Fenway Racing's Facility in Concord, N.C., to serving as honorary pit crew members at the July 12 Sprint Cup.
The competition is the largest of its kind for high school technology students, with an eye to giving thousands of teens fuel to start their careers in auto mechanics.
Johnson and Ray's road to the elite championship, according to their teacher and coach Mike Armstrong, began when they took online tests in February to qualify for April's state competition in Newport. Armstrong said his team handily defeated many competitors from across the state.
In order to get ready for nationals, Johnson and Ray have been practicing around the clock to make sure they know everything there is to know about the Ford Focus. Currently, they're just exploring the Stuart Powell-donated brand new vehicle. Later, Armstrong himself will deliberately create problems in the car for his students to fix.
However, anything Armstrong can find to throw at them, they can probably handle, Johnson and Ray agree. They say there isn't really an area of the car they don't feel comfortable fixing.
Johnson, 18, and a recent graduate of Lincoln County High School, has engine oil in his blood.
"I've always been interested in cars," he says. "Mechanics is really a family thing to me. My father is a machinist, and most people on his side of the family are involved with cars."
Ray, 18, and a recent graduate of Garrard County High School, says he's always had a knack for auto parts. While replacing the grill on the Force Focus, he struggles to assign a certain reason for it.
"I like to help work on cars. I just like to do it, and it's what I've always wanted to do."
Do it they will, and with a little luck, they may do so in the company of the nation's top professionals.