CONCORD, N.C. – Every year, the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown presented by Valvoline pits some of the best engine builders in the world against one another.
But while the annual event is certainly a competition, it’s also all about teamwork.
The showdown pairs 12 Hendrick Certified Master Technicians from Hendrick Automotive Group dealerships with 12 Hendrick Motorsports engine department team members. The teams work together to assemble 358-cubic-inch Chevrolet engines similar to the fuel-injected engines that run every NASCAR Cup Series weekend. Builders work with 243 parts in total.
“To all our teammates on both sides, this is what makes our company special,” said Rick Hendrick, Hendrick Motorsports owner and Hendrick Automotive Group chairman. “It’s all about people, and it’s all about working together to make it the best it can be. I am so proud of everyone in the Hendrick organization, both sides of the fence.”
The 17th annual edition of the competition spanned two rounds over two days, with each team performing a qualifying build in an attempt to move onto the finals. The fastest two teams faced off Wednesday afternoon, with the winner determined by the quickest time with the fewest errors.
“This is probably one of the most exciting things that I have watched and been a part of,” Hendrick said. “I think I would be too nervous to do the build unless I could do it by myself in the other room.”
In the end, neither finals team committed a single error, and the winning duo was Danny Emerick from Hendrick Motorsports and Keenan Lau, a Hendrick Certified Master Technician from the Charlotte area. The winning time was 25 minutes and two seconds.
It marked Emerick’s fourth consecutive win in the event.
When asked what his coworkers at the dealership would think of his new trophy, Lau cracked a smile.
“I think they wanted me to go faster,” he laughed.
William Byron was on hand to witness the finals, and he couldn’t help but walk away impressed by the performances on display.
“These guys give us great engines to work with, so it’s cool to see them be able to put their skills to the test today and show what they can do,” the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 said. “To see the crowd that comes out to watch, it’s really a special event and to see how much of a competition it is, that’s something I like to see.”
The teammates from the Hendrick Motorsports engine shop are who Hendrick called “the best engine-builders in racing.” And the teammates from Hendrick Automotive Group have risen to the top of their field.
Hendrick Automotive Group employs approximately 2,000 service technicians, 300 of whom are Hendrick Certified Master Technicians. Hendrick Certified Master Technicians pass a yearly, one-of-kind Hendrick Automotive Group-tailored Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) exam. Over the last four years, more than 400 service technician jobs have been created. Visit HendrickCareers.com for more information.
The 12 participants in this year’s showdown also had the year’s best customer service scores.
“You are the best of the best,” Hendrick told the competitors.
This year, the entire competition was livestreamed on HendrickEBS.com. It was just another example of the growth the showdown has seen since its inception.
“We were laughing a few minutes ago – we used to do this in the museum over here, where they sell T-shirts, in the back corner,” Hendrick recalled. “Customers would walk in and all of a sudden one of the motors would fire off and they didn’t know what was going on. So, it’s come a long way.”
As always, the ultimate goal is to showcase the importance of teamwork throughout both sides of the Hendrick organization. It was certainly on full display this week.
“We’re all one big family,” Hendrick said, “and I can’t wait to do this again.”