CONCORD, N.C. - Matt Tyrrell was hooked on racing after watching his first NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Despite the snow delay that year, there was just something about the competition that attracted him. Now, he is finishing up his first year as part of the No. 48 team. Meet Matt:
Full name: Matthew Tyrrell
Nickname: T.O. I got it during a football camp my freshman year in college. My last name was taped to my helmet and it is similar to Terrell Owens (TO), so it stuck. I’m thankful. It wasn’t as bad as some of the others.
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Education: I received my bachelor’s degree in business management (major) and public health (minor) from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn.
Team/job duties: Rear-tire carrier on the No. 48 Lowe’s team.
Time at current job: I started working at Hendrick Motorsports in January, so 11 months.
Years in racing: Three.
First racing job: I was the rear-tire carrier on the No. 20 (NASCAR) Nationwide Series team at the end of the 2008 season.
First job overall: When I graduated college, I became a personal trainer at two different Peak Fitness’ in Concord, N.C.
If I wasn't in racing I would be: Not happy, but I would probably be coaching football and involved with real estate.
Best racing memory: Winning with driver Joey Logano in 2009 at Auto Club Speedway after getting wrecked early in the Nationwide Series race.
Favorite track: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
Favorite Hendrick Motorsports win: So far, I only have two wins with Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s team so out of the two, my favorite would have to be winning at Talladega Superspeedway this past April. It was my first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win personally as well as the closest margin of victory in the history of the sport.
Hobbies outside of racing: Recently taken up playing the guitar but other than that, I enjoy hiking, golfing, hunting, fishing and anything on the lake.
Favorite sport other than racing: Football.
When I'm not at the track you can find me: At home, at the golf course or on the lake.
On an off weekend you can find me: Visiting family or friends.
Favorite vacation spot: Florida Keys.
Favorite movie: "8 Seconds."
Favorite book: "Harry Potter."
Favorite TV show: "Two and a Half Men."
Favorite music: Country.
Best concert you’ve ever been to: Eric Church. I enjoy smaller shows over larger concerts.
What you’ll find on my iPod: Country music.
Favorite phone app: Hanging/Words With Friends.
If I could meet anyone, I’d meet: Leonardo Da Vinci.
Favorite food: Mexican.
When I’m training, I always: Chew gum. I don’t know why I do this. Maybe out of habit? Maybe to keep my mind off of what I’m doing at times? Not sure!
If I ran NASCAR, I’d: Have a lot of gray hair! I’m a big fan of short track racing, so I would replace some of the 1.5-mile tracks with some short track classics like Rockingham (N.C.) and North Wilkesboro (N.C.).
One thing people don’t know about me: I played center on the offensive line at Carson-Newman College.
Before the race, I always: Well, my superstition is to not have a superstition so I try not to develop a routine.
During a pit stop, I’m thinking: I try not to think. I have spent all week preparing both mentally and physically to execute the stop, so that when it’s game time, it just happens naturally.
I knew I wanted a job in NASCAR when: After I saw my first NASCAR race at Bristol in 2006. It was miserably cold and there was a snow delay, and I still found it awesome and fun! I knew my football career was coming to an end and NASCAR had me hooked. I knew I had found a sport to continue competing at on a weekly basis.
Best part of your job: Being part of a team and getting to compete every weekend.
Favorite Hendrick Motorsports paint scheme: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 AMP Energy Sugar-Free/National Guard Chevrolet that he drove at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway this past May.