TIM TROWBRIDGE, 24, joined AJ Foyt Racing two years ago as a data acquisition engineer. This interview is the third in a series of four interviews with our twentysomethings. We asked him a few questions...
Q: What is your job at AJ Foyt Racing? Do you have an additional role on race weekends?
“My job is the data acquisition guy (DAG), which means I handle the data acquisition system and electronics of the Indy car. During a race weekend I also perform the "Dead-Man" duties, which is opening the fuel nozzle during a pit stop.”
Q: How did you get started at your position?
“I pursued a career in racing as soon as I started my college career, working internships with KV Racing, as well as AJ Foyt Racing. Following graduation, I worked with Cosworth Electronics, until I got a call from George to come back and work as the DAG for Tony Kanaan for 2018.
Q: Greatest thrill of your job?
“The moments between Tony climbing into the car and Race Control giving ‘the command’."
Q: Tell us something that may surprise people about you.
“Prior to my career in motorsports, I worked as a mechanical engineer at a steel processing plant while going to school full-time. And I thought those were long hours!”
Q: What’s the biggest challenge of your job?
“The biggest challenge of my job has to be adapting to changes in such a fast-paced environment.”
Q: How do you prepare for a race?
“It may be cliché, but I try to get plenty of rest the night before race day.”
Q: What’s your favorite track and why?
“On the IndyCar circuit, my favorite track (other than Indy, of course) has to be Long Beach. I've become a big fan of street courses, and Long Beach is such a beautiful area. Outside of the IndyCar circuit, my favorite track is Eldora Speedway (in Ohio). My personal racing career started on dirt and I haven't found a dirt track I enjoy visiting more than Eldora!”
Q: Are you looking forward to the month of May in Indy? What’s your favorite and least favorite part?
“This will be my fifth Month of May, but third with AJ Foyt Racing. I always look forward to the Month of May. There is a lot of work and quite a few long days, but the thrill of Race Day outweighs all of the long hours/days spent preparing. My least favorite part of May is the early morning for Race Day. That 5 a.m. comes much faster than one would expect. My favorite part of May has to be the build-up between cars going to grid and the green flag. Even after four previous Indy 500's, the excitement of pre-race is still something you can't prepare yourself for.”
Q: As a DAG, you sift through a ton of data on a race weekend. Is it ever overwhelming or do you get used to it?
“During my first few races with the team in 2018, the amount of data that poured through in a race weekend was very overwhelming, but now that I've spent a full season with the team, I've gotten into a good rhythm, but I wouldn't say I've been able to just get used to it.”
Q: Have you learned any tricks to make your job easier?
“I've learned how much of an asset Microsoft Excel can be!”
Q: Do you have any hobbies outside of racing?
“Outside of my motorsports career, I spend most of my time still involved in some form of racing, whether it be visiting one of the local dirt tracks or doing some sim racing in iRacing. As the saying goes, racing is in my blood.”
TRACK DAY REPORT: Wednesday, May 15
Matheus Leist (No. 4 ABC Supply/Chevrolet): “Productive day here at the track. We went over a lot of things that we had planned and didn’t have any issues so that was a good thing. Through most of the day we did a lot of “qually” runs trying to focus on qualifying and trying to develop our car from last year. Towards the end of the day, we just focused a little bit more on race pace—ran about an hour and a half with race setup. Just looking forward to Day 3. I think we have a good baseline for qualifying and the race so we’ll just keep trying to have smooth days and we’ll be in good shape for qualifying and race day.”
Total Laps Run: 85
Top Speed/Rank: 227.038mph/12
No Tow Speed/Rank: 223.060mph/11
Tony Kanaan (No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet): “A good solid day. We did a lot more of qualifying work, I think we’re P2 (no tow speed), and then at the end some race work. Happy, I’m happy but we’ve got to keep digging. We don’t know what the other guys are doing. Some are doing just race stuff. I’m pretty happy with my race car right now. There’s a couple things we need to improve but we’ve got to qualify first so we’re going to concentrate on that tomorrow.”
Total Laps Run: 63
Top Speed/Rank: 226.364/24
No Tow Speed/Rank: 224.630/2