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You can imagine that working in the pit as a NASCAR mechanic is intense; you have to be detailed but quick. On the track, you need to be dialed into the race, watching the clock, and fixed on your driver. You’ll feel the pressure and responsibility of knowing that everything you do can help or hurt your driver and his or her time.
Off the track, it’s up to you to make sure the race car is in perfect shape. You’ll be responsible for the same job duties as a traditional auto technician. The main difference is that you'll be responsible for maintaining one or two race cars for your team, rather than working on many different cars for customers. You will:
- test vehicle parts
- repair and replace parts as needed
- run diagnostic tests
- keep records of all services performed
The bulk of your job will take place before and after NASCAR races, but you may need to be on hand during races in the event of a mechanical malfunction. If this occurs, you may very well find yourself working alongside the pit crew.
Required Schooling And Training
In most cases, NASCAR race teams will require their mechanics to have secured some form of post-secondary education. Usually, that’s finishing a program in auto technology or a similar mechanics program at a vocational or technical school.
You typically can complete a training program in as few as 10 months to 2 years. In class and the bays, some of the topics you'll learn are:
- engine theory and performance
- fuel systems
- steering, chassis, and suspension
- brake systems
- manual and automatic transmissions
There are also specialized programs available specifically designed to prepare students for work as a NASCAR mechanic, like the 4-month NASCAR Technical Institute program, located only in North Carolina as part of Universal Technical Institute (UTI).
It may be worth looking into one of these special programs after you've had training as a mechanic since you'll have to complete core training to qualify. In the NASCAR Technician Training program at UTI, you will learn:
- NASCAR Engines I and II
- NASCAR Chassis Applications
- NASCAR Pit Crew
- NASCAR Fabrication I through III
Find a local automotive technology program as your first step!
Gaining Relevant Experience
Once you receive the necessary training, gain some relevant experience in the field. This may mean taking a job as an auto mechanic with a local repair shop or dealership. Most NASCAR mechanics aren't hired immediately after they finish their certificate or degree program.
Try to take on specific jobs that involve diagnostics, troubleshooting, and engine work—valuable skills to have as a NASCAR mechanic.
Standing Out And Getting Hired
Standing out as a candidate to be hired for a NASCAR team is one of the biggest challenges certified mechanics will face. A good way to increase your chances is to relocate to the Carolinas, where you’ll find the most NASCAR mechanic opportunities available.
Be willing to start at the bottom at a racetrack, and be willing to make your work your life once you are hired—this is no 9-5 job. Establishing connections with those in the NASCAR industry will prove useful down the road, but even a great recommendation from one of your teachers or employers helps.
Ambition Will Get You There
If cars and racing are your life and you aren’t afraid of the tough competition, go after the title of NASCAR mechanic. You’ll have a salary of approximately $45,306 - $84,500 (ZipRecruiter).
Even if you decide to stay put in the garage, you’ll always enjoy your work and the people you meet.