This Sunday, the 2017 NASCAR season begins in Daytona Beach, FL at Daytona International Speedway. Around 470 miles away, in Charlotte, N.C., former Tech offensive lineman Eason Fromayan is preparing for his chance to work for one of those teams that raced in Florida.
This is not news to most people; throughout December news of his new career path was all over ESPN and NASCAR media alike. That coverage has given him the publicity he needs to be recognized by a lot of organizations.
“I got a lot of visibility, I guess, through all the bowl game appearances, … being on ESPN and all those different things. So my name got out there pretty quick to all the big teams,” Fromayan said.
That visibility should help Fromayan in getting recruited in a world that is remarkably similar to the one he has just come from.
“It’s kind of like football recruiting,” he said, “there’s certain times of the year where it’ll be hot and certain times when it’s not. Right now, it’s kind of a down time, but then … in the summer like in May, June, July, August, that’s when the programs really start picking up and finding personnel for the following season.”
While this season may not be the year Fromayan breaks into the pit, things are looking up for him. His path is both unique and not. On one hand, he is yet another college athlete transferring to life on pit road, which has surprisingly already been done multiple times. But at the same time he is the first one to understand what he is getting into. He has been a NASCAR fan his entire life, cheering for Jeff Gordon as long as he can remember.
Unfortunately, he will never get the chance to work in the pit for Gordon, who retired in 2015. Instead, he simply wants to work for “any team that’s capable of winning,” not always an easy thing to find in a sport where funding differentiates champions from also-rans.
Many may wonder what purpose a former offensive lineman could serve on pit road. Outside of Tech, the position is not necessarily seen as one of the more athletic positions in football. However, his unique experience on a more athletic, quicker line has set him up perfectly for the world of pit road.
The need for big, strong and athletic pit members is consistent, and Fromayan’s body type is perfect for lifting and moving jacks and fuel tanks.
“Jackman and fueler is what I train for. It’s what fits my body type being a previous lineman at Tech,” Fromayan said of the way his time on The Flats prepared him for a vastly different sport.
The jackman is in charge of using the 20-pound hydraulic jack to raise both sides of the car to change the tires, this is where Fromayan’s speed comes in. The fueler, or gas man, is where his strength applies. The gas man is in charge on emptying two 12-gallon cans, both of which weigh 81 pounds, into the car for refueling.
While the future is bright there are still steps that need to be made. First, Fromayan needs to be picked up by one of the many organizations that own drivers in all levels of professional racing. From relatively minor circuits with low pay and even less attention to the premier Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, there are openings. And of course, Fromayan will have to prove himself in the lower ranks before powerhouses such as Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports (once home to the racer Fromayan idolized) open their doors.
After he gets recruited he must then work his way up through the ranks in the sport.
“Within an organization,” Fromayan said, “there’s the big main organization and [you work] your way through their development program up to their top level team. It’s a lot like baseball, or a lot like going from high school football to college football to the National Football League.”
Indeed, the path Fromayan has chosen to take is an unconventional one. Few athletes grow up wanting to be a member of a pit crew, and fewer still have the ability and commitment to act on that ambition. But Fromayan has done both, and that puts him in a unique position amongst former Tech athletes. He has gone from hauling defensive linemen to hauling heavy machinery.
The road ahead may be long, but Fromayan seems to be adequately prepared. The only thing left for him to do is to keep practicing and keep moving forward.