CONCORD, N.C. – This week, once again some of the best engine builders in the entire country gathered on the Hendrick Motorsports campus.
Together, 12 Hendrick Certified Master Technicians from Hendrick Automotive Group dealerships teamed up with 12 Hendrick Motorsports engine department team members to form teams and compete in the 16th annual Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown.
“Randy and I talked about this years ago that we need to get the best technicians in the automotive group to come join the engine builders here and have a showdown,” explained Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group. “This is a fun time for me and a way to recognize the best of the best in both companies. We’re just one big group doing it together. So, I’m excited to see this build -- and I’m glad I’m not in it.”
The teams were tasked with assembling a 358-cubic-inch Chevrolet engine similar to the fuel-injected engine that runs every NASCAR Cup Series race weekend.
Each team had a qualifying build as the field was narrowed until two teams reached the final. Whichever team posted the quickest time with the fewest mistakes would be crowned the champion.
This year, that distinction belonged to Danny Emerick from the Hendrick Motorsports engine department and Kelly Brandt from Rick Hendrick Chevrolet in Charleston, South Carolina.
“It feels awesome,” Brandt said after hoisting the trophy. “It’s just been an incredible experience.”
The winning time of 22 minutes and 50 seconds clinched Emerick’s third consecutive title in the showdown, and his 17-month-old son was in attendance to watch him capture the championship.
“I was actually telling Kelly beforehand, that’s my greatest motivation,” Emerick said. “I want him to be able to look at that trophy one day, and if he’s competing in baseball or whatever it is and he says, ‘Dad, how’d you get that trophy?’ Everybody wants one, but things have to got to go your way and you’ve got to work a little bit harder. I think about that in the back of my head as the blood, sweat and tears are coming out.”
This year’s event was streamed live on HendrickEngineBuilderShowdown.com thanks to Valvoline, which played an important part in the engine build itself.
The showdown has continued to grow in every year since its inception, and the goal has always been to showcase the importance of teamwork throughout both sides of the Hendrick organization.
“I’m just proud of them, and I love to see the two organizations as one,” Hendrick said. “A big thank you for both companies for putting on a great show. It’s an awesome deal and I can’t wait to do it again next year.”