The difference was minuscule.
The team of Danny Emerick and Bill Sullivan edged out the team of Scott Vester and Phil Seaton by 0.0091 to win the 2023 Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown. With the victory, Emerick joins Vester as a six-time winner of the annual competition.
The two teams were neck and neck coming to the finish with the Emerick-led team overcoming an early miscue to take the title. The Emerick-Sullivan team posted a time of 22:56.46, while the Vester-Seaton squad posted a time of 22:57.37.
“I know there is a winner, but nobody is a loser with a difference of nine-tenths of a second,” Rick Hendrick, the team owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, said. “That‘s unbelievable. I‘m amazed to watch the talent of both the engine builders here at (Hendrick) Motorsports and the technicians working together.”
Emerick, who is an engine assembler at Hendrick Motorsports, won four consecutive years from 2015-2018 and has now won the last two years. Sullivan, who is a Hendrick Certified Master Technician at Hendrick Toyota Wilmington in Hampstead, North Carolina, was part of the winning team in his fourth year taking part in the event.
“Bill (Sullivan) encouraged me,” Emerick said of his partner. “When I said, ‘Bill, I‘m sorry you‘ve been doing so good and I pretty much set us back. We got our work cut out for us.’ And Bill said, ‘I know we‘re going to be just fine.’ Put our heads down and went to work. I‘m so proud of him. He did awesome.”
Vester, who is an engine assembler at Hendrick Motorsports, has six titles to his name and entered the final with the best time in the qualifying portion of the event. Seaton, who is a Hendrick Certified Master Technician at Hendrick Toyota Merriam in Lee‘s Summit, Missouri, was also competing in his fourth build. Seaton also took home the 2023 Jerry Hilson Award, which recognizes the highest-scoring Hendrick Automotive Group competitor on the annual Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) qualifying test.
The 2023 final was the fourth time that Emerick and Vester have faced off in the final with Emerick taking the title in all four matchups (2016, 2017, 2022 and 2023).
The Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown sees 12 Hendrick Certified Master Technicians from all across the country at Hendrick Automotive Group are paired with 12 Hendrick Motorsports engine department team members. Each two-person team is matched up against another duo looking to post the fastest qualifying time. The two teams assemble 358-cubic-inch Chevrolet engines with 243 parts, similar to the fuel-injected engines that run in the NASCAR Cup Series. The builders assemble their engines on their own stage platform as they race against the clock to post the fastest time. Winners are determined by the quickest time with the fewest number of errors. The top two teams with the fastest times face off in the championship round. To date, the quickest time recorded in this competition was 21 minutes and 40 seconds in 2014.
The event serves as a tribute to Randy Dorton. His launch of the engine program as the director of engine operations and his leadership had a tremendous impact on Hendrick Motorsports — both in the organization‘s rise to prominence as the team to beat in the Cup Series ranks and its innovation. Just this season, the engine department celebrated its 500th national series win in NASCAR with Kyle Larson‘s victory at Darlington Raceway in September.
— Hendrick Motorsports —