CONCORD, N.C. -- It takes a dedicated group of individuals to work for a team in the motor sports world. From public relations to engineering to assembling the cars, an employee at Hendrick Motorsports is always kept on their toes.
Here we explore the ins and outs of what it takes to work in motor sports as we dive into our new series, “Fueling Futures.” An initiative started by Hendrick Motorsports partner Ally, “Fueling Futures” was created in 2019 to help middle and high school aged students learn about careers they might not realize are available.
This week get to know John Boydston, an engine builder who worked his way to the top and now prepares the Hendrick Motorsports engines before every race.
Hendrick Motorsports: What does your job entail?
John Boydston: My job is to take parts before the assemblers get them and assemble certain parts, like bearings going into pulleys and dampers getting rebuilt. I work on the oil pumps, oil pans – just certain things that when the assembler gets them it’s easier for them to put the entire engine together and speed up the process.
HM: How did your education and background lead you to Hendrick Motorsports?
JB: I started out going to college at a community college to be an automotive tech. It’s kind of a long story but I decided that’s not what I wanted to do. I always had a thing for race engines and I started working at a small engine shop in New York. Then I got my associate degree in science and motor sports from Luzerne County Community College. After that, the road was just luck. I got lucky enough to have a job in a small engine shop in Locust, North Carolina, when I moved down here. Then I got lucky enough to call a friend and say, ‘Hey, I need a better job.’ That’s when I started cleaning parts in the engine shop and I’ve been here 17 years now.
HM: For someone who is looking to break into the industry in a role like yours, what skills must they have?
JB: To excel in my role in the engine department, really, you just need to have determination and you have to want to work on engines. You have to want to be in the grind every day, take whatever’s thrown at you, work hard and do the best you can.
HM: What advice would you give to those in high school who are interested in a career like yours?
JB: To be involved in motor sports these days, young kids and adults, for that matter, have to have a very broad education. You have to go to school, get a degree, probably in engineering because that’s really the way things are going nowadays. But don’t forget to go and work on race cars. Go to your local short tracks. There are people always looking for help. You can learn how to work on a race car. That’s only going to make you a better engineer or a better mechanic or a better engine tuner or an engine assembler – whatever you’re looking to do in the business. If you can have that broad spectrum, it’s going to make you so valuable to any race team out there right now.
HM: Lastly, what is your favorite part of your job?
JB: I just love working on engines. That’s the way I’ve been my whole career. I traveled for a long time and it was just working on the engine – knowing that you had your hands on a very crucial part to finishing and running well in a race. That’s translated back to the engine shop role. I take pride in what I do. I really feel like it’s just a feeling of accomplishment knowing you’ve had your hands on that engine.