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Madison Conrad is Living Her Dream after NASCAR Technical Institute

"The checkered flags on the wall… it still takes my breath away to be part of something that’s so big."

 

 

Madison Conrad is no stranger to racing. Her grandfather raced. Her father raced. She played pretend with the tools when she was little. Then when she was old enough, she raced too. Madison fell in love with cars.

“Being a driver, I knew I could provide really good information to a team. I could be a valuable asset,” so she looked into it. When a Universal Technical Institute representative came to Madison’s high school, it solidified her decision: she’d make a career of it. After graduation, she packed up her life and moved across the country — from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Mooresville, North Carolina, where she enrolled in NASCAR Technical Institute.

NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI) is the exclusive educational provider for NASCAR. Madison may have been far from home but it didn’t take her long to dive into the racing culture head first. NASCAR Tech's core curriculum gave her more formal training on taking measurements and understanding theories. The NASCAR-specific classes were an added bonus.

She took advantage of every moment of training and encourages other students is to do the same. “Don’t dismiss any opportunity because you never know where it might lead you or where you’ll end up,” she says.

She recalls instructors who made a big impact on her, each with different experiences and different backgrounds and different perspectives. She mentions Mr. Wolf, the spec engine teacher, by name. “He would tell us stories about his mistakes and what we should avoid or look out for.”

Toward the end of her time at NASCAR Tech, she started working at the school. She received the Roger Penske Outstanding Student Award and took an internship working in the parts department at Roush Yates. When she graduated, Roush offered her a full-time position.

Madison glows as she speaks about her duties there. “It’s absolutely incredible,” she says. “The checkered flags on the wall… it still takes my breath away to be part of something that’s so big.” She reflects on the life she dreamt up as young girl and is in awe of the fact that she’s living it now.

As a female, breaking into and working in the largely male-dominated industry is no easy feat but she takes it in stride, handling tires and impact drivers with ease. For the most part she feels others see her as a coworker and a respected asset to the team, not just “the girl.”

Madison wants to be a track side engine tuner for a premier series team someday. “I’ve started going to the track already and shadowing an engine tuner.” She wants to work her way up to a car chief or crew chief position.

Madison’s mom expressed slight hesitation when Madison told her she was headed to trade school. It wasn’t dismissive or not supportive, but her mom didn’t know if it would be a good career for her; maybe a four-year university would be better. Now that Madison has graduated and is working full time, both Madison and her parents think it’s a wonderful career. People are making a living doing something they love. Not too many people can say that.

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