” Boogity boogity boogity, let’s go racin’ boys!” This is the send off in the NASCAR Nationwide Series as the drivers prepare to make their mark in the racing world and on the track. They work hard for that victory lap. Any NASCAR fans out there?
Allen Hart of Midland, Michigan knows all about hard work. He’s down on the track every weekend making sure the cars are at their peak performance for show time. He’s worked on cars for drivers like Ryan Blaney, Regan Smith and Justin Allgaier, and alongside companies like Penske and Turner Scott Motorsports. Hart is a race engineer for the Nationwide Series, which according to this Michigander, is no joke. “I love going to the race and working hard, but even after a great week, it is very tiresome,” says Hart.
Hart got his start studying at Saginaw Valley State University. While studying engineering, he came upon a race car program that allowed the students to compete against other schools in car races. The programming involved all aspects of the vehicle from design, to speed and racing of the car, to endurance against the clock. Hart enjoyed this type of work and in his travels to competitions, he met and networked with several people in the industry, including GM Racing, which gave him the opportunity to come down to Morrisville, North Carolina to join the racing circuit.
Hart’s job is essential in the NASCAR world. He needs to be constantly on point with this team, taking notes on car balance, endurance and many other aspects of the automobile in order to make suggestions to the crew chief. The crew chief will then make an informed decision about how to remedy or make better the racing instrument. These engineers are the puppeteers behind the curtain. Their expertise keeps the car safe and the utility of NASCAR constantly moving forward in its sports innovation. Hart says the most important skill in this position is communication, “Communication is the biggest part of my job. Driver to crew to race setups all require communication.”
Although it seems like a dream to attend weekly races, Hart wants to make sure that all the aspiring race car engineers know that dues must be paid, and that this is not a position for the faint of heart, “Prepare to put your time in at work and be challenged. Be ready to preserver. Most of all make sure to keep moving forward.”
That’s what Hart plans on doing. Moving forward. He loves working hard and going to races. You would have never guessed he almost went to business school before fate intervened with a race car competition. If he’s in North Carolina you can find him in Regan Smith’s pit after the flag drops, but he’s a Michigander at heart. Back home he’s 100% up at Boyne and Pando racing mountain bikes, hence sharing his selfie with his favorite means of travel.
So again, my question stands: Any NASCAR fans out there? Love your drivers, appreciate your engineers. They run the track, hypothetically of course. The drivers would run them over if they ran on the track. I’ll meet you down at the Michigan International Speedway in June. Let’s go racin’ boys!