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Meet the "Car Pool," the Auto Experts Bringing Hot Wheels™: Ultimate Challenge's Builds to Life
Without the Car Pool's expertise, none of the competitors could come close to snagging the ultimate prize.
Now that we're well into Season 1 of Hot Wheels™: Ultimate Challenge on NBC, audiences can look forward to exciting new Hot Wheels-inspired builds every single week. And while host Rutledge Wood and the judges, celebrity guest judges, and competitors are important cogs in this engine, the show would be impossible without the "Car Pool," the group of automotive experts who bring the competitors' designs to life. Without their expertise, none of the competitors could come close to snagging the ultimate prize: $50,000 and their design being turned into a real Hot Wheels diecast.
"The coolest thing about all those people is they put their normal jobs and what they do on pause for 2 and a half months to show up and help other people's dreams come true, and so rarely do you see that ... see their skills come together," Wood told NBC Insider about the Car Pool.
Who works in the Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge Car Pool?
When we spoke with Wood, he was quick to praise the skills and dedication of the various "Car Poolers."
"They all come from very different sides of the automotive world," he explained. "You've got a gal like Rachel [Bohnet], who's from Canada. She's been welding since she was 16 and so she fabricates anything you can imagine — she makes jet boats for people at home in Canada. Then you've got a guy like Michael Sciortino ... his family he's from Las Vegas [and] they build these concourse-level restorations, which are like nuts and bolts, everything has to be perfect, has to be right.
"And then you've got a guy like Charlie [Seward], who's from the U.K. and builds Jaguars that he turns into drift cars," he continued.
Basically, if you can dream it, someone in the Car Pool is going to have the know-how — or, at the very least, the pure, stubborn will — to make it happen.
"I won't lie they butt heads sometimes, right? Because it's harder for people especially those who work in garages by themselves all the time to sometimes come together and share ideas, so that part is definitely there," he explained. "There's some drama in places from people having issues getting on the same page and sometimes that can cost the person to win. I mean 25 grand on the line is a big deal but they did [it], they all put their heart and soul into these cars [and] you could totally tell."
Alongside Bohnet, Sciortino, and Seward are many other world-class experts: Paul Bacon (Coalville, U.K.), Tony Bush Jr. (Hayward, CA), Pa’trice Frazier (Sicklerville, NJ), Cody Ingrassia (East Dundee, IL), Preston Ingrassia (East Dundee, IL), Mark Kelley (Indianola, IA), Claudia La Bianca (Miami, FL), Chris Lee (Bay Shore, NY), Savanna Little (Fountain, CO), Christopher Michaels (Atlanta, GA), Rico Montgomery (Cayce, SC), Bob Partington (Burbank, CA), and Will Trickett (Dilton Marsh, UK).
Reporting by Stephanie Gomulka.
You can watch new episodes of Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge at 10/9c on NBC and next day on Peacock.