Final Wrap, Randy Dorton Celebrated At Engine Builder Finals
By Doug Kaufman
Danny Lawrence and Greg Gunnell from Richard Childress Racing might have won the race, but it was Randy Dorton's memory that was celebrated in Victory Lane.
During the final round of the Clevite Engine Builder Showdown, held May 24th at the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, NC, Lawrence and Gunnell beat the team of Mike Maiwald and Shane Parsnow of Hendrick Motorsports.
When it comes to racing, RCR and Hendrick are fierce competitors on the track - and the Engine Builder Showdown was no different. Last year's winners, Lanny Barnes and Todd Hamm sat in the front row, shouting encouragement to their RCR teammates throughout the event, while 2,000 onlookers sat stunned by the speed. The teams seemed almost to be in sync during their builds, and the crowd sensed it would be an exciting finish. Both engines fired within one minute of each other.
For this year's final round of the Engine Builder Showdown, the NASCAR Technical Institute, Dianne Dorton and Clevite Engine Parts combined efforts to celebrate Randy Dorton's contributions not only to the racing community but the engine building industry as well.
Dorton, of course, was Director of Engine Operations for Hendrick Motorsports until his death last year on the way to the NASCAR race in Martinsville, VA. He won the Clevite NASCAR Engine Builder of the Year Award in 1986 and 2004; a Dorton protege won the award seven other times during that same period.
This year, the Showdown trophy was renamed the "Randy Dorton Memorial Trophy." Consequently, the Hendrick Team wanted desperately to win the inaugural trophy in his honor.
When it was all over, though, two-time champ Lawrence said it wasn't about RCR vs. Hendrick Motorsports. "We feel that everyone won because the event was held in honor of our friend, Randy Dorton." Lawrence and Gunnell then gave their trophy to Dianne Dorton in honor of her husband.
Highlights of the evening's events included the unveiling of the Randy Dorton Engine Room at NTI, and the introduction of the Randy Dorton Memorial Fund Scholarship. The scholarship fund will be used for prospective engine builders interested in studying at NTI. Clevite kicked off the evening by donating $12,500 and silent and live auctions closed the night, adding at least another $65,000 to the memorial fund.
Danny Lawrence has said that the recognition he has gotten from winning the Engine Builder Showdown means more than the money he has won. Thanks to the legacy left by Randy Dorton to the NASCAR engine building community, this year's win might be even sweeter.
To make a donation or to get more information on the Randy A. Dorton Memorial Fund, go to www.randydorton.com.