Honda of Concord Hendrick Certified Master Technician Mike Veleke enters his third Randy Dorton Engine Builder Showdown. Having challenged the field in 2011 and 2014, Veleke is very appreciative for his opportunities and talked about why working at Hendrick is so special to him. “It’s made me grateful to only have and want to work for Mr. Hendrick,” Veleke said. “You are treated like family.” Veleke lives in Concord, North Carolina with his wife, Jenny, and children, Ross, Gracie, Amber and Georgia. While his dream is to travel to Bora Bora, he’s very excited about the upcoming hunting season.
Boydston, who competed in the 2006 event, returns to compete in the 2017 Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown. Described as loyal, outgoing and happy, the Salisbury resident is in tune to what it takes to win. “Staying composed under pressure is key,” said Boydston, who has really enjoyed his time at Hendrick Motorsports. “For me it’s the fact that I can be myself and have fun.” Boydston arrived at Hendrick Motorsports in September 2003. “It was an opportunity that came along when I first moved down from New York, and I knew it was somewhere that I could work for many years,” Boydston recalls. “It has changed my outlook on how much fun work can be, we are doing something we love and having fun doing it.” Boydston and his wife, Audrea, have two children. “I have had a lot of ambition to own my own bike shop in the last couple years, but honestly, I have done just about everything in racing (you) could want,” Boydston said.
Chris Roberds, a Hendrick Certified Master Technician at Honda Cars of McKinney (Texas), is making his debut in Engine Builder Showdown in 2017. He got his Hendrick start in June 2010. "When I (first) interviewed for the job, I was very impressed with the long tenure of the employees at the dealership and the employee-first culture of Hendrick Automotive Group," he said. "As a hiring manager now, I am able to introduce new applicants to the same level of positive energy that I experienced myself as a new hire. "I really appreciate the fact that each individual employee is valued and has a voice to provide suggestions for the improvement of our company," Roberds added. The Texas resident describes himself as easy-going, funny and intelligent, and hopes to one-day travel Western Europe. Roberds enjoys family time away from the dealership with his wife, Julia, and two high school-aged children, Shawn and Lizzie.
Jason Ingle is making sixth appearance in the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown. "During the build, you have to talk to your partner," said Ingle, who went on to describe why enjoys working at Hendrick Motorsports so much. "Something different every day." The Alabama native, who started at Hendrick Motorsports in January 2005, currently resides in Huntersville, North Carolina with his wife, Stacy, and son, Colt. Ingle hopes to travel to Alaska and see a glacier in his lifetime.
Kyle Kittell, in his inaugural competition, teamed with Hendrick Motorsports Engine Builder Danny Emerick to win the 2016 Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown. “Preparation and speed are keys to winning,” Kittell said. He began his Hendrick Automotive Group journey in October 2001, becoming a top Hendrick Certified Master Technician through the exemplary service he’s provided his teammates, customers and community. A resident of Overland Park, Kansas, Kyle lives with his wife, Molly, and two-year-old old, Kendall, and truly enjoys working at Hendrick Chevrolet Shawnee Mission. “It has impacted me and made me a better tech through integrity and hard work,” Kittell said.
Hendrick Motorsports engine assembler Scott Vester has won the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown five times (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 & 2011); the most victories for any single competitor in the history of the Showdown. Including a record-setting performance with Hendrick Automotive Group partner Robert Marock in 2011, Vester has brought a meticulous style that has served he and his teammates well throughout the years. Vester, paired with Jeffrey Yohn in 2016, took home the runner-up spot. "Each year is new and fresh," Vester said. "Take what was learned previous years success or failures and apply it to the next year." The Mooresville, North Carolina resident started at Hendrick Motorsports in May 1999. He’s learned a lot in that time. "Highly sought-after organization (has) made me a better person and taught (me) lessons to use throughout life," Vester said. Vester hopes to run his own business one day.
Phil Seaton first started his Hendrick Automotive Group career in 2011 and after a brief hiatus, returned in September 2015. This is Seaton’s second Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown, who competed in 2012. He talked about why he rejoined Hendrick, "better opportunities to grow as a technician. I feel my career has really taken off." Described as friendly, a mentor and seasoned, Seaton said that being a part of a winning team is one of his favorite things about working for Hendrick Toyota Merriam. When not spending time with his wife, Jennifer, adult daughter Julie and four grandchildren, Seaton is planning his next trip to a national park.
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 at the end of that season. "Hendrick Motorsports is the best engine shop in the business," Vernatter said. "I wanted to work for the best. I have been able to make some great relationships and learn a lot about the entire engine development and build process." Vernatter has also been extremely competitive in the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown, and is looking to take home this year’s title through collaboration with his Hendrick Automotive Group teammate and reliance on his determined, analytical and competitive nature. "Teamwork and tool management is key to a good, clean build," he said. The Concord, North Carolina resident is married to Ashley, and they have a three-year-old son, James. One of Vernatter’s long-term goals is to hunt the Western Elk with his father.
Brian Myers, who first competed in 2011, makes his second appearance in this year’s Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown. “It’s all about teamwork and communication, but it helps to be fast and efficient,” said Myers, of his first build experience. After starting his Hendrick career on September 2008, Myers worked his way to become a Hendrick Certified Master Technician. Describing himself as honest, efficient and thorough, the Chapel Hill, North Carolina resident talked about being a part of the Hendrick culture. “I chose Hendrick to be a part of a winning team to be surrounded by successful people,” Myers said. “It has helped me be a better communicator, team leader and technician.” He also noted all the things that loves about working at Hendrick, “the recognition program for all employees, continued education and the opportunity for advancement, along with constant improvement to (dealership) facilities.” Married to wife, Izzie, Myers is a true hunting and outdoors enthusiast and hopes to go on an Alaskan moose hunt one day.
Ben Proctor is a unique competitor to this year’s Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown. After winning this event in 2015 as a Hendrick Certified Master Technician, he joined Hendrick Motorsports and will attempt to become the first person to win this competition for both companies. "Competed and won in 2015 with Danny Emerick," Proctor said. "During that year, I learned the importance of not letting the pressure get to you and make sure you enjoy this moment." Proctor, who originally joined Rick Chevrolet Duluth in June 2006, made the move to Hendrick Motorsports earlier this year. He was one of Hendrick Automotive Group’s top Hendrick Certified Master Technicians while he was there. "Throughout my career, I have always wanted to be surrounded by the best people," Proctor said. "There is no shortage of talent at Hendrick Motorsports to learn from and grow with." Competitive, motivated and helpful, the North Carolina resident has made it one of his goals to win this event once again.
Scot Hubbard is a veteran competitor of the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown, having competed from 2006-2010, returns for 2017. He feels very strongly about every opportunity he’s had to compete. "I found I am part of something much bigger than I had ever thought," Hubbard said. Hubbard enjoys the fact that Hendrick Automotive Group is a stable company reflecting positive values. Loyal, thorough and honest, Hubbard talked about his move to Pleasanton Lexus. "Lexus was a natural move from Toyota," Hubbard said. Hubbard lives in Patterson, California with his wife, Kerri. They have two adult children, Colton and Caitlyn.
Defending and two-time Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown champion, Danny Emerick, returns for 2017. In 2015, he partnered with current Hendrick Motorsports engine tuner Ben Proctor while he was working for Hendrick Automotive Group, and last year, Emerick took home his second-straight title with Kyle Kittell. "I have competed off and on since the inception," Emerick said. "I’m amazed how adaptable the (Hendrick Automotive Group) technicians are." Emerick, who joined Hendrick Motorsports in November 1996, is motived to win his third-straight this year, and has focused on build efficiencies and communication as keys to winning. He talked about how his time at Hendrick Motorsports has impacted him. "I want to be affiliated with the best," Emerick said. "I also want to be surrounded by like-minded individuals and feel that Hendrick Motorsports provides that. After 21 years, this company has impacted every facet of my life in a positive way. To know you have the best opportunity to win and succeed, as well as working around some of the most talented people in the industry." Emerick currently resides in Concord, North Carolina with wife, Crystal, and son, Everett. One of Emerick’s goals, to see the Northern Lights one day.
Kelly Brandt, who began his Hendrick Automotive Group career in August 2005, is making his Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown debut. "Chose Hendrick while I was still living in Wisconsin," Brandt said. "Saw a great opportunity to grow with a respected and impressive organization. Worked my way up from a line tech, to dispatcher, and finally to shop foreman. I really like working for Hendrick. "Hendrick is, in my opinion, the best dealer to work for hands down," Brandt added. "The benefits are better than any other dealer available I have worked for and I feel like more than just a number." Brandt, who lives in Charleston with his wife, Jessica, hopes to travel to Ireland one day.
Brian Franklin, a member of Hendrick Motorsports since September 2010, is competing in his fourth Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown. "Pre-build preparation and team communication are key elements," Franklin said. "Sometimes you must go slow to go fast, being smooth and minimizing mistakes." A very team-focused NASCAR Xfinity Series engine tuner, the New London, North Carolina resident is a self-described jokester, but is diligent and dedicated to serving his Hendrick Motorsports teammates. "I wanted to be a part of the best of the best," Franklin said. "And when you think of the best of the best in racing, you think Hendrick Motorsports. Being here has taught me that with teamwork you can always succeed. Never quit. "Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports is family," Franklin added. "My teammates are the best!" Franklin lives with his wife, Shannon, and two children, Lilly and Shelby. Away from the shop, Franklin hopes to fly with the Air Force Thunderbirds one day.
Jeff Heinz, a Hendrick Certified Master Technician, returns to the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown as a 27-year team member at Hendrick Automotive Group. "Teamwork is vital," Heinz said. The Cary resident has enjoyed his time at Hendrick, feeling it’s a good place to work with a great environment. Around his team mates, one of his favorite sayings is, "to keep ‘em guessing." Heinz hopes to travel to all 50 states; and currently lives in Sanford with his wife, Kelly, and two children, Alaina and Megan.
Shane Parsnow, a decorated engine assembler in the Hendrick Motorsports Engine Department and winner of the 2005 Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown, is also a multi-time winner of the MAHLE Engine Builder of the Year Award, which celebrates the top engine builder in NASCAR Cup Series competition. "Hendrick Motorsports called me as I was working for another team," said Parsnow, telling about how he joined Hendrick Motorsports. "They were in the process of a tire changer and a helper in the motor department, so the fit was perfect. "The best thing about working at HMS is the resources we have available to do the best job we possibly can day in and day out," Parsnow added. "The people are the utmost important, as we are a big family that works every day with the common goal – that is to win." Parsnow lives in Concord, North Carolina with wife, Tami, and daughter, Shana. One of his lifetime goals is to catch a blue or a black marlin in each of earth’s oceans.
Hendrick Chevrolet’s Jon Wock is a veteran of the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown, making his eighth-overall appearance. A long-time Hendrick Certified Master Technician, Wock plans to win this event through strategic planning, being a terrific teammate and bringing his "A" game. "Take notes during demo build," Wock said. "Make specific game plan. If other builds (are) ahead of yours, readjust plan to improve. Be a team player with your paired HMS builder. "I have learned the benefit of being a team member and try to see the larger picture of what we try to accomplish with our profession," Wock added. Wock, who calls Willow Springs, North Carolina home, lives with his wife, Susan, and twins, Rachel and Drew.
Mooresville, North Carolina resident Tom Karras, a Hendrick Motorsports engine assembler, is the 2003 winner of the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown. He has enjoyed his time at Hendrick Motorsports because of its focus on teammates, continuous improvement and consistent opportunities to win a NASCAR Cup Series championship. "Hendrick Motorsports engines were and are legendary," Karas said. "I wanted to work for the best. It has spoiled me, we have everything we need to do our jobs." Karras, who has an 18-year-old son, Devin, hopes to live in a place that’s tropical.
Making his second appearance since 2014, Ryan Dutro returns to the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown with a renewed understanding. "Go fast and don’t screw up," said Dutro, who feels like there’s only one result that matters in this competition. "If you ain’t first, your last." Why did Dutro chose to work at Hendrick Lexus Kansas City? "I thought it would be a better dealership to work for. It has provided me with a great career with good opportunities." Fun, driven and passionate, Dutro hopes to win Kansas City’s prestigious American Royal horse, livestock and barbecue competition in the future. Dutro started at Hendrick in January 2011, and lives with his wife, Alisa, in Lone Jack, Missouri.
Hendrick Motorsports Engine Dyno expert Jared Morris is participating in his fifth Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown in 2017. The Charlotte resident started at Hendrick Motorsports in January 2005, with his first Showdown appearance coming in 2007. "I learned to communicate with your partner from Hendrick Automotive Group," Morris said. "I’ve watched Scott (Vester) and Danny (Emerick) as much as possible. "I chose to work at Hendrick Motorsports because I wanted to be a part of the best race team in the sport," Morris added. "Working at Hendrick Motorsports has taught me that, even if you don’t come from an extensive racing background, you can come in and be given a fair chance to prove yourself and have a great career." Soon to married to fiancée, Stephanie Berardi (wedding set for Nov. 25, 2017), Morris is dedicated to taking home his first Showdown title and to one day, learn how to fly an airplane.
Eric Jeffers has spent 27 years as a Hendrick Automotive Group team member, currently residing in Charleston, South Carolina, becoming a Hendrick Certified Master Technician and serving his teammates and customers at Hendrick Lexus Charleston. Jeffers returns to the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown for the second time after competing in the 2013 edition, finishing third that year. He briefly talked about his Hendrick experience. "Loving my work environment," Jeffers said. "(It’s) one big happy family working together with good benefits." When away from the dealership, Jeffers enjoys spending time with his two children, Tyler and Ellie, as he plans his dream vacation to travel the Caribbean Islands by boat in the future.
Multi-time Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown record holder Mike Maiwald is also the only competitor to compete in all 15 years of the Showdown. Extremely competitive by nature, Maiwald, 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. "Planning, communication and determination will produce excellent results," Maiwald said. "I wanted to learn from the best in the business," Maiwald said. "Working at Hendrick Motorsports completely changed my thinking about life’s challenges and how to best work through them. Basically, that means how to do things right. (At Hendrick Motorsports) I have had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the most talented people in the world." Starting at Hendrick Motorsports in February 1994, Maiwald resides in Dallas, North Carolina with his wife, Rebecca, and four children, Tyler, Cameron, Stephanie and Keahan. Maiwald hopes to drive from coast-to-coast and see the entire United States one day.
This year marks the third-time that Joe Gagatch has competed in the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown. After competing in 2011 and 2014, Gagatch relayed what he has learned about the competition. "You could have a good, solid plan with your partner that may go straight to h--- when the bell rings," Gagatch said. The North Carolina resident talked about why he came to Hendrick Automotive Group, and why it’s such a special place to work. "I came to the Hendrick store by circumstance; it turned out to be good fortune for me. I am very happy here," Gagatch said. "So many good things (about working here.) All could be summed up in one word – culture." Grounded, fair and simple, he hopes to climb Mount Everest one day. Gagatch lives with his wife, Carol, and they have three children, Nick, Joe and Matt.
Hendrick Motorsports engine assembler, Jerry Windell, is making his second appearance in the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown. Joining Hendrick Motorsports in January 2012, Windell is a talented engine assembler who’s committed to continued improvement, and dedicates much of his time in collaboration with his teammates and applying those skills to building championship-winning powerplants. For the Denver, North Carolina resident, the best thing about working at Hendrick Motorsports is, "quality of people here." Windell is married to Lisa, and they have two children, Tanner and Lexie. He hopes to use all the airline miles he has acquired one day.
Georgia resident David Teifer will compete in his first Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown in 2017. He joined Hendrick Automotive Group in 2003, and has earned his way to becoming a Hendrick Certified Master Technician. A quiet, loyal and responsible team member, Teifer enjoys the support he receives from the Rick Hendrick Buick GMC Duluth management team and the impressive facility he works at. Teifer resides in Lilburn, Georgia with his wife, Althea and they have two adult children, Mike and Tyler. He hopes to make a trip to Hawaii in the future.
Tyrus Gillen is making his second appearance in the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown, and has already strategized how he hopes to capture this year’s event. “I learned that communication is very important,” Gillen said. “You need to be able to work as a team to accomplish goals you can’t obtain on your own. Be aware of tool placement and communicate with your partner.” Gillen, a Hendrick Motorsports team member since March 2013, joined to fulfill one of his lifelong goals. “I wanted to work for Hendrick Motorsports since I was a child,” Gillen said. “I wanted to work with the best people and the best drivers in NASCAR. It has impacted me to see such a great company care for their employees. It is great to be invested in and given the right tools to be able to succeed.” “Representing Mr. Hendrick, who is so strong in his faith and does so much for the community,” Gillen continued. The Kannapolis, North Carolina resident is married to, Eden, and plans to visit Alaska in the future.
Jeremy Miller, of Lexus of Pleasanton, is making his second appearance in the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown. Returning after his inaugural outing in 2014, he talked about that first event. “While participating in the competition, I learned about where Rick Hendrick’s passion for his company and employees comes from,” Miller said. “I gained a great respect (with) the amount of work that goes into running a successful race team.” Miller started his Hendrick Automotive Group career in 2000. “There are many work options for a technician, and I didn’t understand that when I started here as a teenager,” Miller said. “Over the years I have seen a lot of teammates, but there is always a core “family” that has been around. This family feeling, and the support I have received through all of the life changes that occur in 17 years is why I have chosen to stay with Hendrick.” The Modesto, California resident lives with wife, Samantha, and two young children, Lillian and Harrison. He hopes to one day take in the entire Disney experience. “Go to dinner at the private “Club 33” in Disneyland, and attend the rest of the Disney parks worldwide,” said Miller, who has already attended both Anaheim and Paris. “I couldn’t decide which is higher up on the list.”
After competing in the 2014 Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown, Billy Davis is making his second appearance in this year’s event. He learned a lot in that first outing. “I learned how important it is to stay calm, and how one mistake can knock you out of making the final,” Davis said. The Charlotte, North Carolina resident, who is described as driven, meticulous and a team player, joined Hendrick Motorsports in January 2000. “Hendrick Motorsports has always been a dream job of mine since I was a teenager, I practically grew up here and have learned so much from the organization,” Davis said. “I have some of the best teammates in the business, that I consider my friends.” Davis and his wife, Mallory, live in Charlotte with their daughter, Ryan. Outside of Hendrick Motorsports, Davis hopes to attend a Formula One race in the future.
By being creative, meticulous and patient, Jeffrey Yohn has achieved becoming a Hendrick Certified Master Technician at Hendrick Lexus Northlake. As a first-time competitor during the 2016 Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown, Yohn partnered with Hendrick Motorsports Engine Builder, Scott Vester, to grab the runner-up slot. “Awesome contest, great people,” Yohn said. “Overall great experience.” He kicked off his Hendrick Automotive Group career in December of 2013, and quickly established himself as one of the dealership’s elite service providers. “I work with great people,” said Yohn, who’s a resident of Mount Holly, North Carolina, has two daughters, Rachel and Amee, and two sons, Chris and Travis.
Chris Moroch is quite familiar with the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown having competed the last five years, which has given him an opportunity to develop deeper relationships with Hendrick teammates throughout both organizations. "It’s a great way to connect with other employees that also represent the Hendrick banner that you don’t get to see every day," said Moroch, who started at Hendrick Motorsports in 2012. Driven towards success through continuous improvement and constant communication, Moroch enjoys the opportunity to work among NASCAR’s top performers, "It’s a great place to work every day (and) with some of the brightest minds in the business." Married to wife, Jennifer, they have a son, James and daughter, Emma.
William Sullivan, Hendrick Certified Master Technician at Hendrick Toyota Wilmington (North Carolina), first competed in the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown in 2012. Having joined the Hendrick Automotive Group family in March 2004, Sullivan has a long-standing relationship with his teammates and customers. "I had a relative that worked for Hendrick, and I have been happily working for Hendrick for some time," Sullivan said. "I am pleased to know I have a reliable job! I love working for a company that performs well." While he’s described as quiet, dependable and helpful, he hopes to try his hand at skydiving in the future.
Concord, North Carolina’s Kevin Moler, winner of the 2012 Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown with Hendrick Automotive Group partner Corey Perin, is making his tenth-consecutive appearance in the event. Moler, 46, a loyal and dedicated Hendrick Motorsports teammate, embodies his pursuit for excellence in his quality control position within Hendrick Motorsports. “I wanted to work for the best team in motorsports,” Moler said. “I now have a career – it’s not just a job. The co-workers, managers, are truly my friends. Away from work, the Concord, North Carolina resident often enjoys spending time with his 11-year-old son, Carter. Long term, Moler would like to skydive one day.
Having competed in the Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown in 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2014, Gates, the 2005 winner, knows a focus on teamwork is key to taking home his second title. Gates, a Darrell Waltrip Volvo Hendrick Certified Master Technician, has really enjoyed his Hendrick Automotive Group career so far. He talked about his time here. "Stable company, room to grow," Gates said. "It has been a good 15 years." Gates lives in Columbus, Tennessee with his wife, Stephanie, and they have an adult daughter, Honnah.