Rob Kinnan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
April 4, 2018

In our campaign to get the younger generation involved in the automotive world, we were pleased to come across this contest put on by Champion Auto Parts, celebrating young racers and hot rodders.

Mason Ludwig, a 15-year-old rising star in Late Model class racing, and Jon Corral, a radio producer and hot rod restoration enthusiast, are the grand prize winners in the 2018 “Search for a Champion” sponsorship contest from Federal-Mogul Motorparts’ iconic Champion® brand of automotive products. Ludwig, a ninth-grade student from North Branch, MI, will receive the $50,000 (USD) grand prize in the Search for a Champion “On the Track” category, while Corral, of Washougal, Wash., won the $5,000 grand prize in the new “In the Garage” category for do-it-yourselfers.

“Mason and Jon are perfect examples of what this contest is all about – celebrating and rewarding the passion that drives the North American car culture and do-it-yourself community,” said Dana Bubonovich, manager of social media and digital promotions, Federal-Mogul Motorparts. “Enthusiasts really responded to their stories and hopes of becoming members of #TeamChampion.”

Jon Corral

Champion established the contest in 2012 to connect with a new generation of grassroots racers and other enthusiasts. The contest was extended to “In the Garage” do-it-yourselfers who care about maintaining their vehicles and equipment with trusted products from a world-class brand. The Champion offering now includes quality wiper blades, filters, batteries, and lighting, in addition to the brand’s iconic spark plugs.

Over the first seven years of the Search for a Champion contest, Champion has awarded nearly $900,000 to grassroots racers, do-it-yourselfers, and maintenance enthusiasts who have best demonstrated their passion for engine-driven performance. This year more than 700 participants competed for sponsorships, advancing through the contest’s two rounds based on votes received at A record of nearly 190,000 votes were received.

In addition to the two grand prizes, Champion is awarding $5,000 (USD) to each of 10 runners-up in the “On the Track” category and $500 (USD) to each of 10 “In the Garage” finalists. Each of 30 finalists in the “On the Track” category received $500 (USD) Champion sponsorships.

“This was my third year in the contest and I just kept trying to improve my marketing and social media posts to attract as many votes as possible,” said Ludwig, who began his racing career in a go-kart at the age of seven. Ludwig said he will use the grand prize sponsorship to travel to additional tracks in 2018 and increase the team’s support of local charities.

“Winning the grand prize means the world to me because it will help advance my career and allow us to help others,” he said. “It’s awesome to be able to work with the people at Federal-Mogul Motorparts and Champion.”

Corral, who uses the name “Class1c” and produces a popular show, Friendly Fire Radio, streamed through the Dash Radio digital platform, will apply the Champion prize to the restoration and enhancement of a 1972 Chevrolet “Black Diamond” Chevelle that will be displayed at this year’s Specialty Equipment Markets Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas. The car is being built in the garage of Corral’s home.

“This is an unbelievable opportunity—my first SEMA build and maybe a path to someday owning a hot rod restoration business,” he said. “One of the coolest things about this contest has been the feedback I’ve received from other do-it-yourselfers. There have been so many people who have told me, ‘You represent me—I have a daily job but try to find the time to do what you’re doing.’”

The 10 runners-up in the “On the Track” category, each of whom will receive a $5,000 Champion sponsorship, are:

  • Chris Fairchild, Paw Paw, Ill.
  • Gordy Gundaker, St. Charles, Mo.
  • Treyten Lapcevich, Grimsby, Ontario, Canada
  • Leighton Lillie, Lewiston, Idaho
  • Steven Macklyn, Bountiful, Utah
  • Makala Marks, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Michael Milesi, Malibu, Calif.
  • Jake Piel, St. Louis, Mo.
  • Amanda West, Colchester, Conn.
  • Trent Young, Crofton, Ky.

For additional information regarding the contest, please visit To learn more about the growing range of Champion products, visit

Photos Courtesy of Champion Auto Parts