CONCORD, N.C. – For No. 9 team setup mechanic Tyler Trebilcock, a career in racing was something he always wanted.
RELATED: Engine tuner Dell follows in father's footsteps
Growing up in Tucson, Arizona, the fires of competing on the track began to push Trebilcock towards a career in motor sports. After graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering from Northern Arizona University in 2021, he joined Hendrick Motorsports.
"Growing up out there (Arizona), racing is a little bit smaller than it is here. There’s less car count. You have to travel further to race," Trebilcock said. “I grew up racing quarter midgets and bandoleros. That’s what kind of got me into it. I figured out with an engineering degree that you could do it for a living and that’s kind of what brought me here.”
At the shop, Trebilcock occupies the role of setup mechanic for the No. 9 team led by crew chief Alan Gustafson. Each team has a dedicated group of mechanics that ensure the car is race ready before it loads into the truck.
For events that take place on the West Coast, the car must be ready earlier in the week. This prompts a sense of urgency to finish the final product as soon as possible. With races that take place closer to the shop, the setup mechanics have more time to complete the car.
RELATED: See the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule
Throughout the week, Trebilcock’s role takes on a few different forms. His curiosity into understanding the process of why certain changes are made result in additional responsibilities at the shop. He is tasked with nut and bolting the rear end and under portion of the car. Thanks to his engineering background, he is also responsible for keeping up with the engineers to understand the changes that are coming in.
"My main assignment is the setup plate, but it’s a dynamic role where I get to do a lot of different things," Trebilcock explained. "Between the engineering side and the mechanic side, I get to see a lot of pieces of the puzzle. I learn a lot from doing that. It also diversifies me. It makes you more versatile as an employee because it makes you better at understanding the process of how everything works."
Communication between the engineers and mechanics is a must for any organization and having a link between the two parties is extremely beneficial. With the engineering and advances in that specialty at the forefront of the sport, Trebilcock's understanding of the programs used by his engineers provide additional insight and a bit of an edge to his team. Even with this unique role, it’s the competitive atmosphere that he enjoys the most.
"It (the competitiveness) is my favorite part about working here," Trebilcock said. "Your effort in the shop is seen on the track. You put a tremendous amount of hours throughout the week all for a common goal to go out there and win. When you do it, you can say that, 'I earned that.'"
This weekend, Trebilcock and the entire No. 9 team’s hard work will be on full display at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in the Clash at the Coliseum. The race is the exhibition opener to the 2023 Cup Series season. Tune into the unofficial start of the season on Sunday, Feb. 5, on FOX, MRN Radio, and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio. Heat races begin at 5 p.m. ET with the main event taking place at 8 p.m. ET.