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Liberty University

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Liberty University

CONCORD, N.C. -- More than 600 team members work at Hendrick Motorsports, and each of them has a unique role that helps contribute to success on the racetrack.

In this series, will take an in-depth look at how team members execute those jobs on a daily basis, detailing their workspaces, routines and more.

This time, simulation engineer, Julian Pena shares "How I Work."

HP Zbook Studio G3


Describe your role:
“I work with our vehicle models and simulation and I apply those to our vehicle simulator, which is our driver in the loop simulator.  I am in charge of that program, as well.”

Most used app on your phone:
“Formula 1 app”

Apps/gadgets you can’t live without:
“I cannot live without my Formula 1 app. I am a huge Formula 1 fan, so that app is pretty important. I also never thought it would be an important tool or gadget, but my Apple Watch is actually very helpful. It was brought upon me by my wife, and it actually serves a great purpose.”

One word that best describes how you work:

How you got your start at Hendrick Motorsports:
“I never grew up racing and never really worked on cars. I just had an interest in the sport. Going through college at Stanford University, I was very inclined to things like cars, airplanes, anything mechanical engineering – that was my area of study. Marrying those two seemed like a good option.”

Take us through a recent workday:
“I wake up early in the morning because I have two children. I also like to work out early because that’s my only time to work out. So, I work out typically here from 6 – 7 a.m.  because Hendrick Motorsports has its own gym. Then, I come to the shop and sit at my desk, run through simulations, get all of our tests ready if we’re going to go to the driver in the loop simulator. That actually takes most of my day because it is very analytical in that respect. There’s a lot of simulations to run through, there’s a lot of people to talk to, engineers to talk to, to develop things with. That takes most of my time, working with the road engineers.”

Work-space setup:
“I have my laptop then I have two 27-inch 4K monitors that I use when analyzing data from our simulator or from our simulation tools. It helps a lot having that much desk space and screen space that I can use to work instead of looking at a 17-inch lap top for more or less, eight hours a day.”

How do you keep track of what you have to do each day:
“I am a little bit old school. I keep notes on my iPhone, on the iPhone app. But, really, I have a moleskin, hard bound, lined rule book that I try to keep up to date with every day’s activities or what I got to accomplish or get done that day.” 

Best advice you ever received: “It’s kind of off the wall, but an old-school racer told me when I first started in NASCAR, ‘realize from day one that you are going to get fired, so you might as well do it your way.’ I took that as work hard, be yourself and you’ll have no regrets at the end of it.”

Influential person in your life:
“That’s actually a pretty easy one. It was my junior-pee wee football coach. His name was Montrell. He pretty much turned a punk-skater kid into someone respectful and kind of developed my work ethic, if you will, that I have carried forward.”

Favorite thing about working at Hendrick Motorsports:
“The people for sure. I like everyone I work with.”

Who helps things run smoothly:
Alba Colon.”

Something people might not know about working for a race team:
“Past the glitz and glamour, there’s a lot of hours that get put into making a race car go around the track. What people see on TV, that’s just the final product. It looks like it would be a simple task, but it’s over 100 hours of work during the week.”

What type of music do you listen to at work:
“Outside of work I like metal. If I were to listen to stuff at work it would be anything but country.”