Working for NASCAR is a dream come true for twin brothers Taylor and Tyler Patterson.
The brothers started working as race engineers for NASCAR shortly after they graduated in December 2018 with bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Tennessee.
“Tyler and I came to the Bristol race so many times growing up and we would always look down from the grandstands at the infield and down pit road hoping that one day that would be us,” said Taylor. “This past August, I was able to live out my dream. I was on pit road before the race and actually took a second to look up into the grandstands where we used to sit and thought, ‘Man, I can’t believe I’m actually down here now.’”
Tyler works in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 car driven by Bubba Wallace, while Taylor worked last season in the NASCAR Truck Series for AM Racing’s No. 22 truck driven by Austin Wayne Self. In the upcoming season, Taylor will be working in the Xfinity Series for Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 98 car driven by Chase Briscoe.
As race engineers, they play an important role on their teams.
At the shop they run the pull-down rig, a machine that the car is rolled on every week before it’s taken to the track that ensures the car is as low to the race track as possible without it hitting the track. They run computerized software that simulates a lap around the track and tells you how your car will react to certain changes. During practice and qualifying, they record notes and give input to the crew chief on changes that could possibly help make the car faster based on driver feedback.
During the races you can find them sitting on top of the pit box on pit road with the crew chief calculating fuel mileage and recording notes. They also look at photos from photographers placed around the track to see if there is anything out of the ordinary that would make them need to make adjustments.
Since the brothers work for different series, they don’t run in to each other much at the track, but when they do it can be entertaining.
“We confuse a lot of people in the garage area when we are able to see each other,” said Taylor. “It’s funny because I’ll have guys on his team come up to me and ask, ‘Why did you change shirts?’, or ‘Why are you working for a truck team this weekend?’, and the same thing happens to him. We have a good time with it.”
During their junior and senior years at UT, Taylor and Tyler were part of the EcoCAR team and what they learned during that time has helped them be successful race engineers.
“Being on the EcoCAR team helped us learn more about vehicle dynamics and strengthening our CAD skills,” said Taylor. “The EcoCAR project is a great way for students to gain hands-on experience to help prepare them for future careers in the automotive industry. I’ve had numerous people in the NASCAR industry tell me that the EcoCAR project is very impressive on my resume.”
They also completed two summer internships with NASCAR while at UT.
“The internships definitely helped us land these jobs,” said Taylor. “I feel like it would have been impossible to get these jobs without the experiences and opportunities we were fortunate to have by working these internships.”
Taylor and Tyler are preparing for the next NASCAR season that starts back up again in February.
By: Kathy Williams