CONCORD, N.C. – With the entire Hendrick Motorsports organization gathered together at a luncheon to prepare for the playoffs, vice president of competition Jeff Andrews stepped up to the podium.
He then called on director of powertrain Jim Wall to join him on stage.
“I didn’t know if I was in trouble, I didn’t know if it was going to be a roast, I didn’t know if I made somebody mad,” Wall joked. “I was like, ‘Why am I going up here?’”
He would soon find out.
After praising Wall’s “incredible contributions” to the organization, Andrews directed the crowd’s attention to a video.
Dave Doeren, the head coach of the North Carolina State University football team, appeared and addressed Wall directly.
“In recognition of your outstanding accomplishments, I’m pleased to announce that you’ve been selected for the department of electrical and computer engineering alumni Hall of Fame,” Doeren said. “Congratulations on this well-deserved honor, and thank you for being an incredible ambassador for N.C. State.”
The gathered Hendrick Motorsports teammates showed their appreciation with a round of applause for Wall, who served as the longtime director of engine engineering before being promoted to his current position in August 2017.
Wall holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from N.C. State, and the electrical and computer engineering alumni Hall of Fame celebrates outstanding graduates who have used their education to excel in their profession.
The honoree said he was “completely flabbergasted” by the distinction.
“That was awesome,” he said. “I respect Coach Doeren a great deal. He’s a great leader for N.C. State and N.C. State football – just a high-quality individual. To have him make that announcement in front of the whole company, all my peers, it was a lot to take in and I do appreciate him doing that."
In his role, Wall manages the development and delivery of championship-caliber engines along with the responsibility of overseeing the gear and transmission unit, which is integrated with the engine operation.
He has more than 30 years of service with Hendrick Motorsports, and he said the honor from his alma mater will only serve as more motivation moving forward.
“It’s certainly a standard that I have to continue to live up to as an engineer,” he said. “It’s truly an honor to be recognized among that very prestigious group of people.”
Adding to the moment was the fact that his wife, Jill, was in the crowd as a surprise guest to witness the Hall of Fame announcement.
“She’s pretty sneaky about that kind of stuff – she likes to surprise you and put you on the spot,” Wall laughed. “That definitely put me on the spot. But to have her there, that meant a lot. She’s my support system.”
And the reaction from his teammates at Hendrick Motorsports made it all the more special.
“To have the support of your peers means a lot. It’s a great group of people,” he said. “Hendrick Motorsports is an exceptional company to work for, and (Hendrick Motorsports owner) Mr. (Rick) Hendrick is just absolutely the best. He’s a rare person in the world of business and especially in the world of NASCAR, and it’s an honor to work for him. He’s given us all a tremendous opportunity and we’ve got a lot to live up to.”