Chris Roberds is a returning builder this year and a runner-up finisher in 2017, “I learned how quickly tiny little gains or losses on each part of the build process really add up to the total build time.” He joined the Hendrick Automotive Group team back in 2010, “I felt the culture of an employee-first environment would keep me wanting to come in and do my best every day. I have learned that the process of growing knowledge and skills is never-ending, and that there is always a better way to do something if you open your mind and listen to people who have done it before you.” Chris is married to Julia and together they have two kids, Elizabeth (23) and Shawn (21). Roberds would one day like to travel to Germany and Austria with the family to explore the architecture and history. Fun Fact: Chris would like to one day build a 1967-72 Chevy C10 Pickup.
Hendrick Motorsports engine assembler Scott Vester has won the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown (2006, 2007 and 2009 – 2011) more times than any other builder competing. “Each year is a new set of challenges with new partners. Teamwork and communication are key to winning,” said the Huntersville, North Carolina resident, who started at Hendrick Motorsports in May 1999. Scott is a new father to one-month old Weston and pet dad to Boujie (a silver lab) and Cheeto the cat. “I Feel more excited and dedicated to winning another trophy than ever before. Re-dedicated myself to do some new things for the build and win again.” He’s learned a lot in the time that he’s been in the organization. Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has had the biggest impact on his career, “getting to the top isn’t that hard, staying on top is what’s hard. Jimmie has been a great motivator for conducting one’s self to achieve that.” Scott would like to one day scuba the Great Barrier Reef. Fun fact: Scott dreams of owning a Koenigsegg. “Just a normal guy like us that took a passion and made the fastest cars on the street.”
Jeffrey Heinz, who joined Hendrick Automotive Group in 2000, has competed in the Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown in eight years (2003-2005, 2007, 2009-2010, 2014 and 2017).“ To make it in automotive retail business,” Jeffrey says, “You need to be adaptable and keep learning.” Heinz lives in Sanford, North Carolina with his wife Kelly. Together they have two kids, Alaina (24) and Megan (20). He would one day like to take a family trip to Alaska. Fun Fact: Heinz loves the 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, “It was a well styled car.”
Four-time Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown champion, Danny Emerick, returns for 2020. “I have competed off and on since the inception. I am always amazed and look forward to working with the high caliber (Hendrick Automotive Group) technicians each year. Team Hendrick has set itself as the benchmark in motorsports and the automotive industry. Paying attention to the experienced talent, capitalizing on opportunities, and hard work have all contributed to the success of this team. Chad Knaus, Jeff Andrews and Ron Malec have all set a precedence for the veteran engine builder, “I’ve learned to set periodic personal goals, shoot high and stay committed, draw from the experience around you and treat others with respect. Danny currently resides in Concord, North Carolina with wife, Crystal, and son, Everett (4). Fun Facts: One day, he would like to take his family – including his dog – to explore Alaska, “I would like to drive there to see the remoteness and the Northern Lights. One of his favorite types of cars is the 1950’s era Chevrolet truck, “I love their classic look and the era they represent; they have a timeless look.
Practiced and ready for his third Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown (2012 and 2017), Phil Seaton has felt the pressure of the moment, “I have learned how fast the clock can go in the heat of competition.” Phil credits his success to “the U.S. Air Force for teaching me how to be part of a team working toward a common goal.” He lives in Lee’s Summit, Missouri with his wife Jennifer and together they have a daughter, Julie (34). Phil would one day like to take Jennifer to Crete, Greece to revisit where he was stationed in the U.S. Air Force back in 1988. Fun Facts: Phil has a true passion for hybrid vehicles, “the engineering, technology, and service procedures go way beyond nuts and bolts.” This engine build competition is one of the reasons Phil joined Hendrick Toyota Merriam back in 2011.
Ty Gillen is returning for the second time as a builder to the 2020 Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown, “This competition takes teamwork to a whole other level. You need to work together seamlessly to be competitive and have great communication.” With Gillen started working for Hendrick Motorsports back in 2013, “I wanted to work for the best team in racing and be surrounded by the best people. I used to work on pit crews with smaller teams and my pit crew coach helped me get an interview for an entry level position in the engine shop cleaning parts.” Ty accredits his success to David Evans, “he took a chance on me and allowed me to grow at this company. I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren’t for him.” Fun Fact: Gillen lives for the 1969 Camaro, “it is just a mean-looking car. When you see it in your rear-view mirror you just want to get out of the way.”
Ryan Dutro returns this year for this third Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown (2014 and 2017). Having competed in years past, his best advice is to “be organized.” He came to work for Hendrick Lexus Kansas City in January 2011. “They have always (maintained) a clean and well-maintained dealership,” Dutro said. The person who has made the biggest impact on Ryan’s professional career is Chris Clark, “he pushed me to be a better technician.”Ryan lives with his wife Alisa and son Harrison (2) in Lake Winnebago, Missouri. One day he would like to go to Australia with Alisa to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef. Fun Fact: Ryan enjoys driving, working on, and researching the Corvette, “It’s history and performance are unmatched.”
Coming back as an alternate for the 2020 Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown, Josh Speir has learned in his many years of participation that, “teamwork and tool placement is the key to success.” Reflecting on his years with Hendrick Motorsports, Speir stated, “It was a dream job to work at Hendrick Motorsports. It took me 13 years to get where I’m at today by hard work and determination.” Josh states that Mr. Hendrick has made the greatest impact on his career, “His determination and competitiveness to win drives me to work just as hard as he does.” Josh lives in Landis, North Carolina with his wife Lillian and son Lawson (4). He hopes to travel America to see all that there is to see. Fun Fact: His favorite car is a Ford Mustang and hopes to get another one someday.
Allen Gates has participated in five previous Hendrick Engine Builder Showdowns (2005, 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2017). As a previous champion and runner up, he states that to win you, “learn by watching others around you and communication is a valuable tool.” Gates joined the Hendrick Automotive Group team in 2002, “I knew several people that worked at the dealership and heard how they all enjoyed working there. Working here has given me the chance to do things that I could not at any other place.” Gates lives with his wife Stephanie in Columbia, Tennessee. They have a daughter Honnah (33) who’s married and has blessed them with two granddaughters. Allen enjoys mountain bike riding, camping and boating with his family. Fun Fact: Allen would like to take Stephanie to Sweden to see the landscape and learn about his heritage.
Jay Nolan, who works on engine sub-assembly & NASCAR Cup Series EFI components for Hendrick Motorsports, has competed in the two previous Engine Builder Showdowns and hopes his experience will help him win this year’s competition. Saying, “having a game plan and always being prepared to audible.” Jay has scored wins with five different drivers and went on to describe why he joined Hendrick Motorsports, “I was a huge Jeff Gordon fan as a child and I had it in my mind that if I got into racing as a career when I grew up, Hendrick Motorsports was the place I wanted to be. It has really shaped me personally and professionally. I started when I was 20, so I grew up here. I've made countless relationships here including my wife that I met in Daytona while traveling for work. It has also made me constantly think and push how to make myself better and what I do better, both at home and work.” Jay lives in Huntersville, North Carolina with his wife Dee and his three kids, Michael (13), Camden (6) and Elijah (4), “My wife and my children have made the biggest impact on my career because they give me an extra level of drive and pride in my work. I represent them and I want to be a good example for my children.” Fun Facts: Jay is a big fan of the 1970 Chevelle SS 454 and one day, love to visit Australia with his family.
Having competed in 2012 and 2017, Bill Sullivan realized that the competitors you are up against in the Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown are the best of the best. Bill credits his success to his brother Keith, “I would not have applied at Hendrick Toyota without his recommendation. From a young age I was interested in the mechanics of cars, and this was due to Keith's constant tinkering.”. Bill is married to Maura and they live together in Hampstead, North Carolina. One day he would like to take her to Ireland, starting in Dublin and traveling to the coast. Fun Fact: Sullivan is a driving enthusiast and thoroughly enjoys vehicles with rear-wheel-drive and manual transmissions.
Sam Vernatter is one of NASCAR’s premier engine builders, taking home the prestigious MAHLE Engine Builder of the Year Award in 2015, as Hendrick Motorsports engines powered five of the top-12 finishing NASCAR Cup Series teams by the end of that season. “I wanted to work for the best team owner in the business. Hard work, perseverance and a little luck got me to where I am today,” said Vernatter, who joined Hendrick Motorsports 14 years ago. “My dad taught me to work hard and to (never) give up no matter what is thrown at you. He got me into racing at a young age.” His keys to victory and what he enjoys most about competing, “Communication with your partner is key.” Sam lives in Concord, North Carolina with his wife Ashley and sons James (6) and Gabe (2). Fun Fact: In the future, Sam hopes to visit Nunavut, Canada to hunt musk ox, “I'd like to hang one of those prehistoric beasts on my wall. I'd take anyone willing to go and freeze with me.”
Coming from being an alternate in 2018, James Turner is bringing his “A” game for the 2020 competition. “Everyone treats you like you are a part of their family, it’s an awesome experience,” said James, who started with Hendrick Automotive Group in 2008. “I wanted to work somewhere that made me feel like I was part of something bigger, not just a number. Hard work has gotten me pretty far in life.” James lives with his wife, Balanka and two children, Gage (17) and Scotlyn (10) in Lillington, North Carolina, “My grandmother and family have made the biggest impact on my career by far. They have pushed me to follow my dreams and to do what I enjoy in life. I love working with my hands.“ Fun Fact: James would one day like to travel to Scotland with his family. He also really enjoys classic cars, especially ones from the late 20s early 30s.
Jason Ingle, who runs NASCAR Cup Series engine dynos for Hendrick Motorsports, has competed in the event on nine different occasions (2006 – 2010 and 2016 - 2019). Hopefully, this year he will be able to check “winning this event” off his bucket list. Jason’s advice to new builders is, “teamwork, you have to talk to your partner.” He credits Larry Zentmeyer for his success. Jason has been loyal to Hendrick Motorsports since 2005 when they were first to offer him a job in racing. Jason Ingle lives in Denver, North Carolina with his wonderful wife Stacy and two children, Colt (7) and Knox (2). In his few moments of downtime, he enjoys being able to camp with his family and friends and hopes to visit Fiji one day. Fun Fact: Jason is a Lotus enthusiast, “Great small sports car.”
Will Hollifield makes his Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown debut this year. “Just qualifying has been a goal for me, and can't wait to enjoy the experience,” Will said. “I have always enjoyed watching the Engine Builders Showdown online. I still cannot believe I made it this year.”Hollifield initially joined his current teammates because of existing friendships, but quickly realized working for Hendrick Lexus meant that he was part of a team that gave him stability and a sense of family. Will is married to his wife Kim and together they have a daughter Victoria (21), “Kim has been with me since I decided to go to school for this career and stood by me with all the changes.”Fun Fact: Will is a man of many talents, “bicycling is my favorite hobby. I also like doing a Christmas light show every year for people to enjoy”.
Brian Franklin, a NASCAR Xfinity Series engine tuner, and member of Hendrick Motorsports since September 2010 is competing in his eighth (2012 and 2014 - 2019) Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown, “From my past experiences, I’ve learned that preparation is key. But you have to be able to change your game plan and adapt to changes on the fly without it affecting you or your partners rhythm.” Brian first joined Hendrick Motorsports because of its reputation, “I wanted to work for the best team in racing. Hendrick Motorsports has been the benchmark of NASCAR racing for many years and I wanted to be a part of that legacy. I always have tried to work hard, stay humble, and always have a good attitude. My dad has always been the person that has pushed me to be the best I could be.” Brian lives with his wife, Shannon, and two children, Lilly (10) and Shelby (7). Away from the shop, Brian hopes to plan trips to the Bahamas or the Caribbean with his family. Fun Fact: Brian is an avid iRacing competitor.
Jim Stevens was a (Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown) alternate back in 2018, “I learned about working together as a team. It was such a great experience I look forward to doing it again.” Jim joined the Darrell Waltrip team back in 2016, “I was told it was a great place to work and it is. I got here through hard work and a good set of core values.” “Dave Dudly showed me about grinding it out till you've got it right. He taught me to do it right the first time or you have to do it again,” said Jim, who deeply valued the mentorship Dave provided. Jim lives in Santa Fe with his wife Sandy and they have two sons, Jason and Jake. Sandy and Jim enjoy spending time outdoors and especially fishing. Fun Fact: “When I was much younger, I built a couple of street stock dirt track cars and ran them for a few years,” Jim remembers.
Mike Maiwald is a multi-time Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown record holder, Engine Development Dyno Technician. Extremely competitive by nature, Mike, who won this event in 2004, is genuinely impressed with the talented Hendrick Certified Master Technicians he has teamed with throughout the years and has worked hard to prepare himself to capture this year’s event, ”Over the years, I learned the importance of good communication when in a teamwork environment.” ”Hendrick Motorsports represented the best in the business,” Mike said. “I started as a parts washer in 1994 just to get in the door and worked my way through the shop to dynos then on to assembly, after years of that I found a home in R&D dyno. It took hard work and dedication to constantly improve.” Mike and his wife, Rebecca, have four children, Stephanie (31), Cameron (31), Keahan (27) and Tyler (26), and hopes to take his wife on a coast to coast road trip one day. Fun Fact: Mike loves the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD Diesel, power and look make the vehicle what it is.
Anthony Dowless won the Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown back in 2011, “teamwork is key, you can’t win this competition by yourself.” Anthony has been a Hendrick Automotive Group teammate since 2002, “I have gotten where I am today by remembering and practicing the core values of the organization, whether I’m at home or at work. Hendrick Automotive Group is the No. 1 team and I wanted to be a part of it.” Looking back on who’s made the biggest impact on his career, he said, “I have had many people help me over the years but the one person who is responsible for me being at this competition would have to be Jerry Hilson. He loved this competition and has helped many technicians from Hendrick Lexus achieve their goals of Hendrick Engine Builder”. Anthony lives in Midland, North Carolina with his wife Alison and they have three kids, Russell (13), Wesley (11) and Elise (9). They enjoy spending quality time with one another, especially when they get the opportunity to ride dirt bikes together. Fun Fact: “I would like to go see a MotoGP race at either Circuit of the Americas in Texas or at Phillip Island in Australia. I would like to see the fastest motorcycle riders in the world in person,” Anthony said.
Having competed in all but one since its inception, Shane Parsnow is a decorated engine assembler in the Hendrick Motorsports Engine Department and winner of the 2005 Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown, “It's all about communicating with your partner. I always look forward to meeting other teammates.” “I choose to work at Hendrick Motorsports because of the resources and tools that Mr. Hendrick gives us to the job to the best of our ability, and of the people that in a lot of ways are like family to me,” Shane said. Shane lives in Concord, North Carolina with wife, Tami, and daughter, Shana (22). Fun Fact: One of his lifetime goals is to catch a blue or a black marlin in each of earth’s oceans, as well as visit New Zealand, “I would love to see the mountains, the scenery and they have world-class billfish fishing.”
Making his Hendrick Engine Builder debut, Jesi Lopez started with the Hendrick team back in 2014, “I chose to work for Team Hendrick because it's a great organization.” “My dad has made the biggest impact on my career because he was always pushing me to go further both in life and at work,” Jesi said. He is very family oriented and loves his eight-year-old daughter Grace. One day he’d like to take her and go to Spain to watch his favorite soccer team play, FC Barcelona. Fun Fact: “My favorite type of car would definitely be a sports car because I like being able to drive something that can go fast and handle well,” Jesi exclaimed.
Chris Moroch is familiar with the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown, having competed the last seven years (2013-2019), which has given him an opportunity to develop deeper relationships with teammates throughout both organizations, “In the years I previously competed I learned how much work the technicians at Hendrick Automotive Group have to go through to obtain a spot in the Engine Builder Showdown. After learning this, it has made the guys on the motorsports side work even harder.” “I always wanted to work for Team Hendrick,” said Moroch, who started in 2012. “Be a sponge. Soak up as much knowledge as you can. Seek out the top technicians in your dealership and try to model yourself after them,” Chris said. He attributes his success in large part to his father, “Watching his work ethic from early on in my childhood years and onward as I got older.” Married to wife, Jen, they have a son, James (12) and daughter, Emma (8). They live in Statesville, North Carolina and enjoy spending time outdoors and with each other. His favorite car is a 1967 Corvette. Fun Fact: He would like to take his family on a North Pole expedition. “Because it’s part of the planet that you will not be able to travel across in a few years.”
Scot Hubbard has made it to the Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown six times, and feels his seventh is the best opportunity he’s had to take home a championship, “From previous competitions, I've learned that I am part of something bigger than I have ever thought. And that teamwork is the answer to a lot of issues we encounter.” Starting with Hendrick Automotive Group back in 2001, Hubbard saw the job opportunity as “a chance to grow with a new car line and company. I got to where I am today by working hard and taking advantage of opportunity.” Scot lives with his wife Kerri in Patterson, California. They have two children, Colton (31) and Caitlyn (28). Hubbard loves an adventure, Australia intrigues me, “It's like the last wilderness. I would take my wife of 36 years, Kerri. The flight would probably kill me, but I think the experience would be worth it.” Fun Fact: Hubbard is very knowledgeable about the early year Mustangs, “I've had a '68 Ford Mustang since high school. They are fun to drive, cool looking, simple to work on, very light and respond to modifications.”
Ben Proctor has worked at both Hendrick Automotive Group and now at Hendrick Motorsports, winning back in 2015 for the Automotive Group side and then competing in ’17 and ’18 for Motorsports, “I have learned to enjoy the process and have enjoyed bonding with the All-Star technicians that are competing in this event.” Fellow builder Danny Emerick has been the most significant teammate in Ben’s career, “We won the 2015 EBS together and with his help, I was able to move from Hendrick Automotive Group to Hendrick Motorsports. His continued support and guidance have made me a better engine tuner.” When reminiscing about his career thus far with both companies, “The sky is truly the limit within both Hendrick Automotive Group and Hendrick Motorsports. I never would have thought that I would be where I am at in my career path back when I was an 18-year-old kid, just starting out in a Hendrick Automotive Group dealership, changing oil.” Fun Fact: Ben’s favorite vehicle just so happens to be something to brag about, “the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Driven by William Byron. That car is responsible for my first win in the Cup Series”
Returning this year to the Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown, Jamie Hairr is excited to see what this year competition holds, “I learned last year that time management, tool management and teamwork are extremely important.” Having worked with Hendrick Automotive Group since 2007, Jamie is proud to be part of the Jeff Gordon team, “I enjoy working for a company that genuinely cares about their employees. I have worked extremely hard and taking every opportunity to better myself in my career.” Jamie lives with his wife Aimee and their three sons, Landen (9) Jackson (7) and Jaxson (6) in Wilmington, North Carolina, “She is such a positive person and is always pushing me to do better. It is nice to have a strong support system.” Jamie hopes to take his family to Disney, “There's many of places I would love to go but I feel they are at an age now to really enjoy it and remember it.”. Fun Fact: “My favorite car is the Chevy Corvette. I have been the Corvette technician since 2008, so naturally I have a bond and I enjoy working on them. I have owned a couple over the years but they're not real practical with three kids. Over years I settled with a LS9 Corvette-powered (Chevrolet) Suburban.”
Jared Morris, who works on the production engine dyno for Hendrick Motorsports, has already competed in seven (2009, 2010, 2015 - 2019) Engine Builder Showdowns, “Teamwork is key. Getting to work with the guys from the Hendrick Automotive Group side helps you really appreciate what they do every day.” When investing in his career, he chose Hendrick Motorsports January 2005 because, “I wanted to work for the best NASCAR team in the sport. I have shown up every day with the mindset that I want to make the biggest difference I can make for Hendrick Motorsports and our engine program. That thought process has led me to much success.” Fun Facts: Jared enjoys all types of vehicles, “I love anything that has way too much power and feels like it’s trying to kill you when you drive it.” His adventurous spirit would take him to many exotic places, “I want to go to space...just to see our planet from a new perspective...obviously I would want to take my wife, Stephanie, but I know there is no way she would go.”
Jeff Yohn returns for his second year competing in the Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown (2018). “Staying focused is crucial to winning and staying positive even when things aren't going so well. I am excited to be given the opportunity to compete in this awesome event again.” Having been with the Hendrick Automotive Group since 2013, Jeff feels it has been the best career decision he could have ever made, “My father was the greatest influence with my career choice. He wasn't a mechanic, but he loved to tinker with cars and I always was there tinkering along with him. That experience has taught me respect, patience and a good work ethic.” Jeff lives in Mount Holly, North Carolina with his wife Tracy and they have four kids, Chris (36), Amee (33), Rachel (33) and Travis (31). Jeff hopes to one day travel to all the states in the U.S. with Tracy and to see what this country has to offer. Fun Fact: “My favorite car is a 1966 A/C Cobra. Mainly because it looks fast just sitting still! I have had the pleasure of driving an original one also.”
Hendrick Motorsports Engine CNC specialist Kevin Moler, winner of the 2012 Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown, is making his thirteenth-consecutive appearance in the event. “Every year I learn small things to help with the flow of the build. The lesson is always teamwork. It’s the best way to get the job done, most efficiently,” Kevin said. “Lynn Haddock taught me so much about engines and machine work, Larry Zentmeyer has treated me like family since I started at Hendrick Motorsports.” Kevin, who pointed his career towards working for NASCAR’s most successful race team, credits the mentorship of his long-standing Hendrick Motorsports teammates with helping him build a foundation for success. Away from the track, the North Carolina resident spends lot of time with his 15-year-old son, Carter, ”My son Carter is Autistic, and he is a really special guy. He has every excuse to be a child that struggles with behavior, but he is the most respectful boy you will ever meet. If all the world knew him all the world would be a better place.” Fun Fact: Loves the now-shuttered Australian-brand, Holden, “I own one and they are amazing cars!” On his bucket list is visiting Australia so he can see where his car was originally built.
Kelly Brandt, who paired with Hendrick Motorsports Danny Emerick to win the 2017 Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown, is looking to bring home a second championship, “I’ve learned that you have to have a plan, know what part of the engine you are responsible for. Also, tool organization is essential, rummaging around for tools will cost you valuable time. It's a team effort and takes two competent people to win.” Brandt came to work for Hendrick Automotive Group in 2005, “I wanted to work for a large and trusted organization with the possibility for advancement. I believe hard work and dedication pays off in the long run.” Kelly gives credit to all the successful and skilled technicians he works with daily for his career advancement. He is proud to be representing his team at Rick Hendrick Chevrolet. Kelly and his wife Jessica live in Charleston, South Carolina. They would like to one day visit Finland to see the history, beautiful landscape and learn about their ancestry. Fun Fact: Kelly is a GM World Class Technician and an ISSA certified personal trainer who competes in bodybuilding and powerlifting events.