When college football players leave school with a year or two of eligibility left, normally they are heading to the NFL Draft. Maybe Georgia Tech OL Eason Fromayan could have gotten there one day, but he’s leaving the program after the TaxSlayer Bowl for another passion: he’s going to begin training to join a NASCAR pit crew.
While that certainly sounds strange, for Fromayan it’s the exact opposite. He’s been a racing fan ever since he was a kid, rooting on Jeff Gordon and attending more races than football games. Fromayan even dressed up like Gordon for Halloween and joked to ESPN that there are a “whole lot of pictures of me wearing Jeff Gordon gear all around the house.”
On the surface, NASCAR pit crews might not be the place for former offensive linemen, but that perception doesn’t jive with reality. A NASCAR coach (those do exist) told ESPN that 35-40 percent of current pit crews are stocked with former athletes of all types, so for former football players with a racing itch, they have a chance to earn their way into the big time.
Fromayan compared the competition to get on a NASCAR pit crew to the arduous and crazy process that is college football recruiting and national signing day. And just as most young offensive linemen in college football end up redshirting early in their careers, Fromayan may have to work in the “minor leagues” before making his way to the big show.
This past season, Fromayan interned at the Atlanta Motor Speedway as a corner worker while starting nine games for this year’s Yellow Jackets squad. He would have returned next season as one of the veteran hands for Paul Johnson’s team, but he decided to follow his other passions instead.
“I guess it’s unusual to cut a career early like that, but I’m graduated and everything,” Fromayan said. “We can end it on a high note. You never know what can happen coming up, so if there’s an opportunity to better my situation, it seems right to take it.”
Where can a 6-foot-4, 285 pound former offensive lineman fit in on a pit crew? He’d qualify to be a gas man or operate the jacks on a six-member pit crew, and the combines for these potential new crew members are actually quite similar to those football players go through, including bench presses, 40-yard dashes and some specific drills to NASCAR depending on the roles you want.
After landing a job as a crew member, Fromayan wants to save up enough money to land on a team that races in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. If he can pull that off, Fromayan would become the first NASCAR pit member to drive a car in said race.
“It would be a heck of a story if it all works out,” Fromayan said. “It requires a lot of money, and a lot of dedication to do that, but hopefully through the pit crew it would be a unique way to accomplish that goal.”
While the story of football players joining NASCAR pit crews is more common than you’d expect, a college player with some eligibility left leaving to pursue that passion certainly is. Good luck, Eason.