A year after foregoing his final season of eligibility to pursue a career as a NASCAR pit-crew member, Eason Fromayan is not where he thought he’d be.
The former Yellow Jackets offensive tackle did work NASCAR races, as he had hoped. Working lower-tier series, he served teams as a mechanic and a tire specialist. He was part of the over-the-wall crew, jumping into action during pit stops to lift cars up for tire changes with a hydraulic jack or to quickly fuel them up.
He got a taste of life inside NASCAR, the sport he had loved and followed since his childhood. But he decided that the wiser course rested in a corporate career.
“It was certainly interesting,” Fromayan said. “I’ll never have any regrets for trying. I’ll never have to wonder what could have been. I still love racing. It’s something I’ve always been passionate about. It’s just maybe not the right time or the right position to be in at the moment.”
Fromayan had one of the more unusual reasons to leave behind football, one that attracted the attention of ESPN and blogs across the Internet. A fourth-year junior from Milton High, Fromayan started 10 games and was playing well at offensive tackle. He stood a good chance of starting in 2017. He was healthy. Graduating in December 2016 with a degree in business administration, he had the opportunity to at least start work on a graduate degree.
But he chose to make the jump, finishing his career by contributing to Tech’s win over Kentucky in the TaxSlayer Bowl. From there, he moved to Charlotte, N.C., and entered a pit-crew training program directed by NASCAR’s diversity initiative (Fromayan is African-American). He earned his pit-crew license and then got on the road. Fromayan served a number of teams in various series, including NASCAR’s Xfinity and K&N circuits and the ARCA series, about 15 to 20 races in all.
The exposure to the stock-car racing industry, however, provided him perspective that caused him to re-evaluate his decision. Namely, interest in NASCAR is dropping, as are sponsorships.
“It’s been in a little bit of a decline over the last couple of years,” he said. “You could feel everything tightening up, and resources were getting to be a little bit thin.”
Last month, NASCAR changed its rules, reducing the number of pit-crew members from six to five. Limits on the size of other parts of teams were put in place as well. While the changes were made in the interest of parity, the changes limit the number of opportunities for aspirants like Fromayan in a highly competitive field.
The rule changes reinforced Fromayan’s decision to give up on his pit-crew dreams.
“You don’t want to get three or four years into this and then your career goes away,” said Fromayan, who hasn’t abandoned the idea of being involved in racing in some form or another.
In the early fall, Fromayan accepted a job with at Aerotek, a worldwide recruiting and staffing agency, for whom he works as a recruiter. Fromayan said he was looking for a job with a strong training program and a foundation to start a career. The search didn’t last long; Aerotek was the first place he applied for a job. He credits his Tech degree and the experiences he acquired playing for the Yellow Jackets, learning teamwork, overcoming adversity and pursuing excellence.
“It was purely being a student-athlete at Tech that got me the job,” Fromayan said.
Fromayan returned to Tech a few times this season for games. He is aware that, had he completed his career, he could well have helped the Jackets, who were thin at offensive tackle. He prefers the ending that he was able to write.
“I was incredibly lucky to make it out of there (healthy),” he said. “I never missed any games. I was on the field for every single one. Never had any knees, shoulders, backs, head injuries. Honestly, I enjoyed how I finished my career. I finished it on a touchdown winning the TaxSlayer Bowl. It was about as good as it could have ended for me.”
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