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Action Express Racing is a professional sports car racing team that is all about growing from within. The tight-knit group of about 20 full-time employees includes three NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI) graduates, who fill crew chief, lead fabricator and tire technician roles. Seven NASCAR Tech grads total have worked at Action Express Racing and moved up the ranks, with two alumni becoming crew chiefs within five years of being hired.
“The program turns out a higher-than-standard level graduate, for sure,” says Chris Mitchum, Action Express Racing director of race team operations. “Our goal is to bring someone in with the rudimentary experience NASCAR Tech provides.
Our objective is to work with someone within the company and promote from within.”
Action Express Racing was founded in 2010 and has since won four out of the last five overall championships in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series and five out of five of the ISMA Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup races that have been offered in the last five years. The team competes in at least 10 races a year from January through October, including both sprint and 24-hour races, which feature up to four drivers a race.
Action Express Racing's race shop is based in Denver, North Carolina, close to the NASCAR Technical Institute campus. Action Express Racing has a direct relationship with NTI, and graduates are recommended to the team for interview consideration. Mitchum says the attention to detail and understanding of processes in the racing industry are qualities that make NTI graduates stand out.
Obtaining a professional career in the racing world without education is tough, Mitchum says. Studying in a supportive school environment enables students to learn and practice so they feel confident in a professional setting. For a well-oiled machine-like Action Express Racing, that foundational knowledge is key to seamlessly integrating new employees into the team.
“The racing industry is not something you can break into on your own,” Mitchum says. “There's no place to gain that knowledge. To bring someone cold in off the street into racing is very difficult for any professional team. Attending NTI and getting that background and that base knowledge of what it takes to get into that field is the best way to get into professional motorsports."
Students searching for a racing auto mechanic school often find NASCAR Tech’s 15-week elective NASCAR training. It can prepare students to become effective race car technicians upon graduation. Students learn essential racing skills like:
Students can master what it takes to keep a car on the track, the right equipment to keep in pit boxes, chassis options, dynamomoeters, fueling, cooling and more. Students work with the same tools and equipment that NASCAR and IMSA professionals do,
so when they become professional racing technicians, they're already familiar with pro racing tools and processes.
Mitchum says when Action Express Racing is hiring new employees for their team, in addition to successful completion of NTI study, he's looking for candidates who love the racing world and who are dedicated to growing in the industry.
“When we look at NTI, we're looking for candidates who have completed the courses and have the glowing remarks or standout suggestions from the teachers. That beings the process,” Mitchum says. “In the interview process, you look
for someone who truly has the drive and passion for motorsports.”
Mitchum says he would interview and consider any NASCAR Tech grad. Those who have raced outside the classroom, whether it's something they've done on their own, with family or with friends, also stand out as high-caliber candidates for Action Express
Mitchum says the success Action Express Racing has had relates to the closeness and collaboration of the team. He calls the program “dedicated,” since team members are able to learn immensely on the job and pursue more involved positions
within the company. As employees move up the ranks, they are able to bring the experience they've accumulated to each new race, which strengthens the overall team.
“Our team does more to grow a candidate within the sport and within the company,” Mitchum says. “We promote within, so the future is a fairly long-standing one, and there's some more security. We compete at the top level in North
America as far as sports racing, so we're a dedicated bunch looking for the right candidates.
That means working directly with NTI to find talent to fill those valuable positions contributing to championships year after year. Students can complete the core automotive program at NTI to become proficient in areas like engine systems and vehicle electronic technology, then move into specialized racing training for additional valuable experience.
NASCAR Technical Institute graduate, Daniel Rohrer, shares what he believes is his secret to getting a job in the motorsports industry.
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It only takes a few minutes to learn about technician training opportunities.
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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2) For important information about the educational debt, earnings and completion rates of students who attended this program, and to review the applicable Gainful Employment disclosure, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.
6) UTI graduates' achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on personal credentials and economic factors. Work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer and their compensation programs affect wages. UTI is
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7) Some programs may require longer than one year to complete.
10) Financial aid and scholarships are available to those who qualify. Awards vary due to specific conditions, criteria and state.
12) Based on data compiled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections (2016-2026), www.bls.gov, viewed October 24, 2017. The projected number of annual
job openings, by job classification is: Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, 75,900; Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists, 28,300; Automotive Body and Related Repairers, 17,200. Job openings include openings due to growth
and net replacements.
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