Mechanical Engineering Alumnus Races to His Dream Job as NASCAR Engineer
Kyle Abrahims ’20 works as an Xfinity Series Race Engineer at Joe Gibbs Racing.
While part of the job for Kyle Abrahims is to keep his crew’s race car in tip-top shape, working as a NASCAR Xfinity Series race engineer for Joe Gibbs Racing is about more than fresh tread on the tires and a new set of brakes.
For Abrahims, it means hunkering down in the pit box on race day to monitor how the car is running, what the driver could be doing differently, and then communicating all of that to the crew chief. It’s often a day filled with adrenaline and excitement.
It’s also where a young man who grew up surrounded by racing can submerge himself in the only career he’s ever dreamed of pursuing.
The knowledge to start
It was the summer of 2018 and Abrahims was on the hunt for a co-op experience. The York College of Pennsylvania Mechanical Engineering student drove eight hours to Charlotte, North Carolina, and handed out about 50 résumés to different racing teams.
“I just wanted to get my foot in the door,” he says. “It can be really competitive out there, and there are only so many teams.”
His efforts were worth it. He spent that summer doing shop-based engineering work with Stewart-Haas Racing. When Abrahims graduated at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Stewart-Haas didn’t have an opportunity to offer him.
Instead, he took a position with a Cup Series team at Gaunt Brothers Racing. While Cup is at the highest level of NASCAR racing, Abrahims was working on a lower budget team with fewer resources.
By the end of 2020, Abrahims found another opportunity to work on an Xfinity car with Joe Gibbs Racing. While it’s a level down from the Cup Series, he’s the lead engineer on one of the highest placing cars in the series.
“Being with a really good team makes all the difference,” he says. “It’s been an incredible opportunity for me, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here.”
The knowledge to start
Abrahims believes his York College education gave him the tools to find the answers. There are many times in his workday when he has to diagnose auto concerns, analyze data, or problem-solve. Because his area of expertise is so specialized, it’s critical that he has a process for addressing those things.
His approach to those concerns has paid off. His team won 11 races this year and is in the championship. It gives him a great feeling of accomplishment and gratitude for how far he’s come.
“York College taught me how to be a critical thinker,” he says. “My parents instilled in me the idea that hard work gets you places. That combined with the knowledge I gained at York College has brought me to where I am today.”