Tuesday, July 20, 2010

From The Track To The Pits





2003 South Putnam High School Graduate Jonathan Hassler focuses on his job as a racing engineer for NASCAR Nationwide Series Driver Justin Allgaier.

At age 8, Jonathan Hassler knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. He wanted to always pursue his career in racing. He loved racing go karts at a little race track the Putnam/Clay County line.

When Hassler was 13, his whole family stopped racing, but he didn't. He wanted to keep going and hopefully one day make it into a career.

Hassler then took his racing career to the next level. He started racing 600cc modified sprint cars along with his go karts. Then he ended up finding himself in a situation that he had the inability to move up.

When Hassler couldn't afford to race anymore, he didn't give up on his dream of racing. He told himself to stay with it. He did not want to give up hope yet. Then by a stroke of good luck, Hassler ran into someone who changed his life.

Jonathan ended up attending Purdue University to study automotive engineering. That's when he met the person who he said changed his life. Hassler used to race go karts with this guy and then he helped Hassler get to the position that he is in now.

Hassler now works on the number 12 Penske Dodge of driver Justin Allgaier in the Nationwide Series. He is a mechanical engineer for the team.

Now instead of racing lap after lap in a race car, he goes through computer simulations each weekend and tries to get the race car running its best for the race. Hassler's job is basically telling people what to do.

One thing Hassler would tell you it is not that easy to get into NASCAR. It takes a lot of hard work and skill.

Durring Hassler's Junior year at Purdue University, Hassler had to make the decision to make the jump from late model racing to NASCAR. He ended up packing his bags on spring break and flying to Charlotte, N.C.

Hassler and some of his friends went to Charlotte to meet with some race teams and they told them what they wanted to do. Then one of the teams offered Hassler an internship for his last year at Purdue.

After the 18 months had passed, Hassler found out that his friend worked for Penske Racing. He ended up getting his job as a race engineer.

Justin Allgaier and the No. 12 team will be in action this weekend at O'Rielly Raceway Park. The race begins on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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