THE SHOP

Performance Business - May '13

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Automotive Specialists now operates with a staff of four, but had as many as 12 employees at one point. Over the years the company has lost people to NASCAR teams with abundant resources and sponsorships as the racing industry continues to thrive. The company's power plants can be found in everything from local ovaltrack cars to land speed racers. Automotive Specialists is a family labor of love that includes Dorton's wife Patsy and daughter Camille, Jeff and Keith, and even granddaughters Jenna and Ella. A secret intake design helped the company get to Victory Lane in the 1990 Daytona 500. 28 n Performance Business PBMAY 2.indd 28 n daughter and wife also play major roles in the business. Jeff looks after the cylinder head department, Dorton assembles engines and both share duties such as handling customers and parts and working on the dyno. The shop has two other employees that are responsible for tasks such as parts preparation, installation of engines on the dyno, dressing out the engines, and engine check-in and out. The Evolution of Speed Although Automotive Specialists' customers are mainly from the East Coast, its engines compete all over the world. The company has sent engines to New Zealand for road racing applications and to Australia for land speed and oval track competitions. Dorton feels fortunate to have witnessed major drag racing records fall throughout his career. He remembers when it was considered impossible to go more than 200 mph in a quarter-mile from a standing start; of course, now cars can reach 320-plus mph going just 1,000 feet. Horsepower capabilities have also increased significantly over the span of Dorton's career. For example, he says it is not uncommon to make a 350-plus cubic inch small block, naturally aspi- May 2013 3/29/13 10:11 AM

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