Corey Perin, a BMW master technician from Hendrick Automotive Group's East Bay BMW/East Bay MINI dealership in California, and Kevin Moler, a machinist at Hendrick Motorsports, defeated 11 other teams to win the 11th annual Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown. Perin, a first-time participant, and Moler built their final Chevrolet R07.2 NASCAR engine in 27 minutes and 46 seconds. (Scroll down the page for video.)
This was the first year the assembled engines included fuel-injection systems, slowing down the builds slightly from last year's winning time of 21 minutes and 30 seconds.
Since 2002, the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown has paired 12 Hendrick Automotive Group master technicians, with 12 Hendrick Motorsports technicians, in a two-day competition to construct Chevrolet R07.2 engines. The overall goal of the competition is to have the fewest errors in the shortest amount of time. The teams are set in a bracket-style format, and the two teams with the best times go head-to-head in the final round at Hendrick Motorsports.
“I wouldn't even look at the clock until I hit that start button,” said the 37-year-old Perin. “I saw our time and thought, ‘As long as this starts running, we're good. This is bragging rights among my Hendrick technician peers. Next year, I'll be back as a teardown tech, but I'd love to see another tech from East Bay BMW or MINI in it next year and taking home the trophy again.”
Moler, 40, has worked at Hendrick Motorsports since 2001 and has competed in the last five Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown competitions.
“This is such a great event,” Moler said. “I've been coming here for years to watch. I know the guys at Hendrick Motorsports and Hendrick Automotive Group look forward to this every year. I'll come back and participate in this every chance I get.
“I never looked at our competitors or the clock, but I knew we were ahead of them. I kept listening for their oil pan. Once we moved to the top side of the engine, we were very deliberate to make sure everything was tight. The one-minute penalties are what can get you. But we knew we were ahead so we were very careful about that.”
Perin and Moler bested their championship-round competitors Lee J. Cook of Rick Hendrick Chevrolet in Charleston, S.C., and Brian Franklin, an engine tuner at Hendrick Motorsports, by a little more than one minute. Both teams went error-free throughout the final round.
Hendrick Automotive Group employs 1,400 technicians across 12 states. To be eligible to participate in the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown, technicians must first be a Hendrick Certified Master Technician, which requires full ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) certification as well as top level manufacturer training, then pass an ASE test specifically crafted for Hendrick Automotive Group. This year, 131 technicians took the test. The top four scores from each of Hendrick's highline, imports and domestic divisions are then entered into the competition.
“This event is greatly anticipated by both our Hendrick Automotive Group master technicians and the folks in the Hendrick Motorsports engine department all year long,” said Rick Hendrick, chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group and owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “These guys are really competitive and so good at what they do. To see these engines go together so quickly and run is impressive. I'm proud of all of them and it's great that we can get together and recognize them each year.”