THE SHOP

Performance Business - May '13

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Outlasting Them All Keith Dorton and Automotive Specialists have been offering quality race engines since 1965. By Patricia Kaowthumrong Keith Dorton (right) founded Automotive Specialists in Concord, N.C., in 1965. With the help of his family, and particularly son Jeff, the company is still going strong. 26 n Performance Business PBMAY 2.indd 26 n A Automotive Specialists ' race engines have held 13 world records since 2009 and have powered wins in the land speed arena as well as virtually all of NASCAR's touring divisions, the USAR ProCup series and at the Daytona 500, Snow Ball Derby and Copper Classic to name a few, engine builder Keith Dorton says that winning isn't everything. "A lot of people measure success by how many races they win, but that's not it. The best part of my job is seeing the smile on a driver's face or a crew chief 's face when he knows that his engine is as good or better than anybody else's out there," says Dorton, who started Automotive Specialists nearly five decades ago in his hometown of Concord, N.C. "You don't have to be in Victory Lane. That always helps, and we're very proud of our wins, but you can't win them all." Automotive Specialists builds complete race engines from start to finish in a lthough 15,000-square-foot facility. Approximately 60 percent of its customers are oval track racers, while the other 40 percent are from other types of motorsports, including road and drag racers, hot rod owners and land speed competitors. A 48-Year Legacy The first of his family to express an interest in racing, Dorton established Automotive Specialists when he was just 20 years old. "It wasn't easy because in 1965, if you went to the bank and you were only 20 years old and needed to borrow $2,000 to buy a crankshaft balancer, they looked at you like, 'Are you crazy? How are you going to pay for it?'" Dorton recalls. He says he grew up "intrigued with mechanical things." At age 12, he found a '32 Ford coupe, fixed it up with pieces from the junkyard and had the car on the drag strip by the time he was 15. May 2013 3/29/13 10:08 AM

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