CONCORD, N.C. – Each and every year, the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown continues to get bigger and better.
Last week, the 18th annual edition of the competition paired 12 Hendrick Automotive Group Master Certified Technicians with 12 Hendrick Motorsports engine department team members to see which duo can build a fuel-injected, 358-cubic-inch Chevrolet NASCAR Cup Series engine in the quickest time with the fewest number of penalties.
“To see where it is today, to know that we’re streaming this live, to see the energy in the room, I think it’s one of the neatest things we do as a company,” said Rick Hendrick, Hendrick Motorsports owner and Hendrick Automotive Group chairman. “Because we want to pay tribute to our best techs in the country and our best assemblers here. It’s so exciting and to see where it’s grown from and to see people watching it all over the country is pretty special.”
The two-day, two-round tournament saw each team perform a qualifying build in an attempt to move onto the finals. The fastest two teams squared off Thursday afternoon, with the winner determined by the quickest time with the fewest errors.
This year’s championship team was Hendrick Motorsports engine shop team member John Boydston and Hendrick Automotive Group Master Certified Technician Shane Fischer from Hendrick Chevrolet Shawnee Mission in Kansas City, Kansas.
The duo assembled all 243 parts of the engine in a winning time of 25:03.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Boydston said. “Coming from the engine shop and working with Randy Dorton, being able to come away with a W is just amazing.”
“It’s a really neat experience to have to team up with somebody you’ve never met before,” Fischer added, “and we worked really well together.”
That aspect of the event stands out to Hendrick every year.
“It’s so cool to see the guys that are the very best in our industry come and meet with the best engine builders in motor sports,” the owner said. “When you get two pros that are used to working on motors, when they get together, it just flows. It’s amazing to me that you can do that.”
New to this year’s showdown was the addition of a student build. Approximately 350 high school students from schools across North Carolina attended the event, and many had the opportunity to compete in their very own engine builds.
It was a concept Hendrick introduced at the end of last year’s program and it made its debut in 2019.
“For these kids to get up here in front of people, in front of cameras, to do what they did was simply amazing,” Boydston said. “They all had a great time, they had smiles on their faces, and I think they really got an appreciation for assembling an engine.”
While the showdown is certainly a competition with plenty of pride on the line, it’s ultimately about that appreciation of what the engine assemblers are able to do, and it’s a chance to showcase the type of teamwork that’s possible between both sides of the Hendrick organization.
“It just amazes me to see the talent in our company and I’m really humbled by that,” Hendrick said. “It’s really a big family.
“I can’t wait to do it again next year.”