Nate Boysen, 23, joined AJ Foyt Racing mid-season last year after earning his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Hope College. This is the second in a series of four interviews with our twentysomethings. We asked him a few questions…
Q: What is your job at AJ Foyt Racing?
“I work alongside Warren Wilson in the Damper Department where I build and prepare each shock that goes out on the cars. I work with the engineers to develop damper curves and act as a historian for all the shock related information so that in the future we can replicate any damper from any race. During race weekends I adjust damper settings in practice sessions and assist in the pit lane wherever I am able.”
Q: How did you get started at your position?
“You could say the stars aligned at the right time for me to get into racing and onto this team. I had just graduated school with my Mechanical Engineering degree and was looking for employment. Through a friend of my father’s, who is also a friend of A.J.’s, I had an interview during qualifying for the 500 last year, and here I am! I’ve been an avid race fan and car guy pretty much my whole life. I got started young thanks to my Dad, but never did I think I would work for an IndyCar team right out of school!”
Q: Greatest thrill of your job?
“The greatest thrill for me is to see such a wonderful example of engineering go around the track with the help of dampers that I tuned and built!”
Q: What may surprise people about you and/or what your responsibilities entail?
“The shock dyno, the testing unit that we use to see damper curves, uses precisely tuned electromagnets to force the damper through its motion. Also, my Formula SAE team (Hope College) won rookie team of the year with our 2016 car and our 2018 car came in 11th out of about 100 teams. 12th was USC, and my school had a student body of only 3,500.”
Q: What’s the biggest challenge of your job?
“Dealing with the engineers...No, I'm just kidding! It’s probably record keeping, making sure every detail is accurately written down for future reference. You wouldn’t think it, but there is a lot of information to track.”
Q: How do you prepare for a race?
“I think about how well the race could go and visualize how that could happen.”
Q: What’s your favorite track and why?
“My favorite track is Road America. I’ve spent the last decade going with my family and friends to the vintage sports car races there in the summer. It’s one of my favorite places on earth.”
Q: Is this your first month of May? If so, what are your expectations?
“First Indy 500! I can’t wait to experience it all and take it all in. I expect to feel the electric atmosphere on race day and hopefully see a great finish for the team.”
Q: Have you learned any tricks to make your job easier?
“All the tricks I’ve learned come directly from Warren, who’s been doing this a lot longer than me! One thing in particular is that we label everything - dampers, damper parts, springs, weight jackers - with either green tape or a label maker, it adds clarity to the chaos.”
Q: Do you have any hobbies outside of racing?
“I am a huge soccer fan, love to support Manchester United. In my spare time I like to work on my Miata that I’m turning into an autocross car.”
Indy 500 Track Report – May 14, 2019
Matheus Leist (No. 4 ABC Supply/Chevrolet): “Great first day in the ABC Supply Chevrolet practicing for the Indy 500. It’s good to be back driving at this track. It was a solid first day. I think we were playing a little bit on the safe side just to get through the day and finish our test program. Those are the important days that mean a lot when we get to qualifying and Race Day. Today we were focused a little bit more on qualifying than race pace but at the end of the day we did a few laps in traffic. On Day 2 we’ll probably do more laps in traffic to focus a little bit more on the race setup.”
Total Laps Run: 85
Top Speed: 224.355mph
No Tow Speed/Rank: 222.085mph/19
Tony Kanaan (No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet): “It was a good first day. We worked a lot we had developed over the winter to see if it‘s working. I did a lot of running on my own and we ended up P3 no tow so it’s a pretty decent day so far.”
Total Laps Run: 66
Top Speed: 225.473
No Tow Speed/Rank: 223.275/3