Get to Know Your Pistons at Valvoline Engine School

The Valvoline and Hendrick Motorsports master instructors at the racing giant's engine labs can teach anyone to be a mechanic.

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

The Valvoline engine building lab at Hendrick Motorsports can teach rookies mechanic’s skills.

Thanks to Valvoline and Hendrick Motorsports, I can strip down and rebuild a powerhouse V8 engine. I can do it less than an hour. And, it'll start up when I'm done. All I need is a master mechanic to help me and thousands of dollars worth of precision tools. But, beyond that, I'm ready for the NASCAR pits.

For the recent rollout of classic, rebuilt pickup trucks designed by Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Valvoline brought automotive journalists together at Hendrick Motorsports headquarters and their engine workshop in Charlotte.

Amidst the multiple Sprint Cup championship banners hanging overhead, the scribblers broke into teams and proceeded to assemble a V8 engine from its assorted parts into a fully functioning, fueled power plant that would start on command. They raced against the clock with the best overall time compiled once both engines were complete.

This reporter's team obviously won, and it's solely due to my cool head, deft hands and natural mechanical acumen — and maybe the other nine people on my team

You can catch some insider's views of the engine lab below: