Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown showcases teamwork
By Gray Caldwell
CONCORD, N.C.— Teamwork is the fuel.
It's a motto for Hendrick Motorsports and a reminder that success comes from everyone working together.
That is never more apparent than at the annual Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown.
The event pairs 12 Hendrick Certified Master Technicians from Hendrick Automotive Group with 12 Hendrick Motorsports engine department team members.
It's a chance for team members from both sides of the company to come together for a common goal.
"That, I think, is the thing I didn’t realize how special that was going to be," Hendrick Motorsports Owner Rick Hendrick said. "Because once they work together they create a bond so they stay in touch with each other."
"They are all part of the Hendrick family and they are all proud of that."
In two rounds of competition over two days this year, each team assembled a 358-cubic-inch Chevrolet engine similar to the fuel-injected engine that runs every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend.
Ultimately, two teams moved to the finals, which were emceed by Ray Evernham, and the winners were determined by quickest time with the least number of errors.
This year's champions were Elmer Javier of Hendrick Honda of Charleston and Van Nguyen, a Hendrick Motorsports engine assembler.
Their winning time was 21 minutes and 48 seconds, and they didn't make a single mistake.
"This is the best example fo teamwork between our two companies that I've ever seen," Hendrick told the participants. "I am amazed every time I watch it."
The Hendrick Automotive Group competitors passed a yearly, one-of-a-kind Automotive Service Excellence exam, and also had the year's best customer service scores.
Of Hendrick Automotive Group's approximately 1,500 service technicians, only 240 are Hendrick Certified Master Technicians.
And only 12 made the showdown.
"So from 1,500 we come up with 12," said Wayne Simpson, vice president of fixed operations for Hendrick Automotive Group. "It is a pretty elite group."
With the growth of the company last year alone, Hendrick Automotive Group now operates more than 90 dealership locations throughout 13 states, and more than 400 service technician job opportunities have arisen.
"The technicians that we need are not necessarily the technicians we refer to as an A tech – fully trained, fully experienced technicians," Simpson explained. "We really need, the majority of that 400, is really an entry-level position."
"If you look at our management company, most everyone who works there came up the ranks of the dealership. So the growth opportunity is just tremendous."
In addition to having an opportunity to participate in events like the engine builder showdown, working for Hendrick Automotive Group—or Hendrick Motorsports—has plenty of perks. Not the least of which is working for Hendrick.
"You hear it’s a family atmosphere; it is a large company that feels like a small organization. Feels like family," Simpson said. "You hear that we have great benefits, which we do. Great insurance program, that Mr. Hendrick makes sure that we have. And just the feeling of belonging, the camaraderie that comes with belonging to the Hendrick Automotive Group and its affiliation with Hendrick Motorsports."
Simpson noted that the 13th annual Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown "just enhances that relationship."
And Hendrick couldn't be happier with what the showdown helps accomplish.
"To be able to recognize them and let them have some fun and then crown a champion is really special," he said. "And the bond it creates between both companies, it’s really good."