CONCORD, N.C. – Teammates Anthony Dowless, of Hendrick Lexus, and Scott Vester, dyno engineer with Hendrick Motorsports, constructed their Chevrolet R-07 engine more than four minutes faster than the competition to win the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown. The unique event, which featured 12 teams with employees from Hendrick Motorsports and the Hendrick Automotive Group, was held recently at Hendrick Motorsports.
Dowless, a rookie, and Vester, a four-time showdown winner (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010), took top honors on Wednesday after they assembled their final engine in 21 minutes, 30 seconds, edging the team of Patrick Ashford, of Gwinnett Place Honda, and Andrew Ossowski, an assembler for Hendrick Motorsports.
“This is a great experience; it is my first time being here,” Dowless said after receiving the championship trophy with Vester. “And being on a team with Scott was amazing. He’s a great coach. He talked me through every step. We had a nice smooth, clean build, and I cannot thank everybody here enough; it was a great time.”
The two-day competition went smoothly for the team, despite a few missteps in the first round. By the final build, Dowless and Vester shaved off more than two-and-a-half minutes from their assembly time.
“The first round we had a few bobbles and mistakes,” Vester said. “We knew that you don’t really have to speed up, just don’t make those mistakes and you will automatically get faster. It seems like if you slow down, you’ll go faster, so we did that. My partner was great; we had great communication.
“This championship is great; you never get tired of it. Every year we come back it is a great experience with the automotive guys. Mr. (Rick) Hendrick allows us to do this, and every year it is something new and challenging. You get to work with a different partner so it is like you start all over again every year. It is exciting, and we are glad to be a part of it.”
Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of the Hendrick Automotive Group, created the event 10 years ago as a way to recognize the talents of his engine employees within both companies. The late Randy Dorton, a legendary engine builder at Hendrick Motorsports, was instrumental in the development of the competition, which is named in his honor.
“To recognize our master technicians in the dealership is important to me,” Hendrick said. “But these guys are the best of the best; they have the highest scores in our company. And then our engine builders who are the best in the NASCAR arena – all of them join together to have this competition. I’m so proud of them. It builds a lot of chemistry between the two companies and I’m telling you, we have some outstanding folks.”
2011 Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown times:
Bart Peterson/Rick Hendrick Chevrolet in Georgia and Kelly Pryor/Hendrick Motorsports 35:39
Kevin Eagleburger/Superior Buick Cadillac and DeWayne Black/Hendrick Motorsports 37:52
John Hayes/Rick Hendrick Dodge CJ and Kevin Moler/Hendrick Motorsports 27:59
Tanner Andren/Hendrick Porsche and Scott Fox/Hendrick Motorsports 32:16
Patrick Ashford/Gwinnett Place Honda and Andrew Ossowski/Hendrick Motorsports 26:20
David Keels/Hendrick Honda in North Carolina and Earl Wheeler/Hendrick Motorsports 38:01
Michael Mirek/Hendrick Lexus and Jay Wiles/Hendrick Motorsports 27:27
Joe Gagatch/Hendrick Lexus and Mike Maiwald/Hendrick Motorsports 30:09
Brian Myers/Hendrick Dodge and Danny Emerick/Hendrick Motorsports 28:33
Matt Hill/Hendrick Honda in North Carolina and Shane Parsnow/Hendrick Motorsports 29:03
Anthony Dowless/Hendrick Lexus and Scott Vester/Hendrick Motorsports 24:07
Michael Veleke/Honda of Concord, N.C. and Kevin Webber/Hendrick Motorsports 30:23
Ashford/ Ossowski 26:11