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NASCAR dream becomes a reality for York College student

September 05, 2018
Kyle Abrahims, mechanical engineering student

Kyle Abrahims knew he wasn’t the kind of person who wanted to work behind a desk. He grew up around race cars and always dreamed of a career in NASCAR.

The older he got, though, the more the Spring Grove native saw the racing industry as struggling more than growing. When he graduated high school in 2015, he felt he had two choices.

One: He could go to college, major in something like engineering, take a desk job and possibly never get to NASCAR.

Two: He could go in a completely different direction and see where the path took him.

He picked Lane 2.

Shifting majors

His journey started in a Pre-Med program at a Philadelphia-area college only to find that the big school and city weren’t for him.

Later, he transferred to York College of Pennsylvania to major in Nursing. He loved attending a smaller school that was closer to home.

Still, though, he felt that burning desire to work in racing.

“Nursing classes were clicking, but it was just the kind of the thing where I kept seeing all of the racing stuff pop up online,” Kyle says. “I think I would have a lot of future regrets if I didn’t follow my dreams.” 

Reaching the circuit

Kyle transferred into the Department of Engineering and Computer Science at York College and never looked back.

He worked hard to make his dreams a reality, handing out resumes to try to get an internship with a racing team in Charlotte, N.C. He ended up getting a spot over the summer as one of two interns at Stewart-Haas Racing, beating out a student from a prestigious tech school.

NASCAR engineers work on making the cars go faster while mechanics work on building the cars and working on the parts. In his internship, Kyle designed parts and performed data analysis when the team would test cars on the track.

“They were really happy with what I did this summer,” Kyle says. “They’re expecting me back in January when I have a second co-op.”

Campus clubs fuel passions

Before he graduates college, he’ll get an option to join the York College Racing club as part of a senior project.

The club builds its own car from scratch and participates in a student design competition called Formula SAE in Michigan. Kyle says many of the NASCAR engineers in Charlotte competed when they were in college.

He also started his own club called the NASA Student Launch Program. Kyle did it in high school and wanted students at York College to get some hands-on experience before their senior project.

The club designs a rocket that carries a scientific payload. Last year a rover came out after their rocket landed, drove five feet and opened up to show solar panels.

Finding his apex

For Kyle, it’s all about taking what he learns in the classroom and finding a real-world application.

“There’s millions of engineering students across the country that go to class,” he says, “but you can learn it from a textbook and that doesn’t mean you can apply it in the real world.”

He’s hoping his internship turns into a full-time job after graduation. But, he mostly just wants to put York College and York, Pa., on the map, he says.

“It’s a personal goal to kind of prove them wrong and show them that a small-town kid can make it in a big-time thing like NASCAR.”

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