Hi, my name is Josh Freund. You may have seen me around the paddock or on pit lane with Andretti Autosport. I work as the crew chief for the #11 team. During the off-season and through the 2011 season, I’ll be updating you on everything that goes on inside an INDYCAR race shop. From composite work to decals, and from testing to the first race, I’ll let you become a part of the team.

#11 Crew Chief, Josh Freund

#11 Crew Chief, Josh Freund

Growing up, I can’t say that I knew I would end up working on race cars. I did grow up in Indianapolis, the racing capital of the world, but I had intentions of being involved with aircrafts in some way, either as a pilot or a mechanic.

I got my start in racing the same way as a lot of others—karting. In 1998, I was offered a job at Players/Forsythe as a front-end mechanic for driver Lee Bentham who drove for the Toyota Atlantic Series, better known as go-karts.

In 2000, I moved into the IndyCar Series as a mechanic for driver Patrick Carpentier and in 2003 I became lead mechanic. After the end of the 2003 season, I joined the Andretti Autosport team and became a lead mechanic on Dario Franchitti’s car. We earned four wins that year—definitely a good year. In 2007, I was a part of Andretti’s ALMS team as a mechanic before going back to Indy cars shortly after as crew chief for Hideki Mutoh. As I mentioned before, I’m now crew chief for the #11 car in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Andretti Autosport #11 crew at Mid-Ohio

The #11 Andretti Autosport pit crew

During the race, you can find me in the pits changing the outside front tire. Back at the shop during the off-season, I work on the car to be the best we can for the next season. As chief mechanic, I work with the engineers to get a sense of what works and what doesn’t. We do a lot of testing and fiddling with certain parts of the cars to get an extra tenth of a second in speed. It can be really fascinating to see first-hand how even a tiny change (either in the shop or during a pit stop) can make a relatively big difference on the track.

My favorite part about my job is being with the guys. I’ve met many people working in this industry and I can say I enjoy working with the people here. Most of the guys here are my good friends. Even with a busy travel schedule and a lot of time away from home, we find a way to enjoy the time on the road.

Andretti Autosport #11 crew in pit lane

The #11 team at Mid-Ohio

Looking back at my career, I’m not sure what I would be doing if I wasn’t part of a race team. Fortunately, it’s not something I’ve never had to think about it. However, if I had to it all over again, I’d probably have my own business of some sort. My goal for now, though, is to keep winning races.

Now that you’ve heard a bit about my background, what do you want to know about the racing industry?

Comments

There are 7 comments for this post.

  1. Tex on December 20, 2010 2:25 pm
    Tex

    How many hours of service does each chassis require in the shop, for each hour of use on the track?

    How many chassis rebuilds do you typically have in a year?

    Thanks for your time!

  2. Lampie on December 22, 2010 8:38 pm
    Lampie

    You mention fiddling with certain parts of the cars to get an extra tenth of a second in speed. Without giving away secrets, can you go into a bit more detail? I would have thought the engineers had reduced most the “art” to measurements and written them down to 5 decimal places. It’s good to know there’s still an art to it, and not just the science.

  3. geoff jefferson on December 29, 2010 10:01 pm
    geoff jefferson

    thats an awesome story Joshie cant wait for more as the season goes on ,keep up the great effort is there more photos?

  4. Josh on January 3, 2011 1:53 pm
    Josh

    Hey guys, thanks for the comments. Glad you liked the blog.

    Tex–it really depends… there are a lot of variables as far as time spent on each chassis. We typically take about 2-3 days to get a car changed from an oval setup to a road course setup. But again, it just depends on how many guys are working on it and from what point we started.
    As far as the re-builds, we basically re-build after each weekend. Because each track/course is different, we have to change up the car.

    Lampie–Sometimes it’s wing adjustments, suspension, even the position of the mirrors. Even the weight of the paint & decals make a difference.

    Geoff–sure, there are photos from each race on our Facebook page (facebook.com/andrettiautosport.).

    -Josh

  5. Rob on September 10, 2011 9:09 am
    Rob

    hi josh i was just doing some research on how to actually get into pro racing. i am currently a race car mechanic and do vintage racing. its great it really is but the race cars are not nearly as serious and its only a few months out of the year i get to work on them and only a couple weekends we get to race them. what do i need to do to possibly get myself into the pros. as far as do i need additional schooling or just getting an interview to show what i know.
    Thanks in advance,
    Rob

  6. kyle salas on July 19, 2012 8:05 pm
    kyle salas

    Hi my name is Kyle Salas i am 15 and i wanted to become an auto-mechanic but i don’t know how to get started so i found this sight and i really want to be pointed in the right direction so if u can please email me back thank you

    Kyle Salas

  7. Andrew Wright on November 19, 2012 5:55 pm
    Andrew Wright

    Hey josh my name is Andrew and im 23 and a military vet. Im a student at UTI and have really started to get an interest in racing and have been thinking a lot about trying to be a race car mechanic but there really isnt a way to be pointed in the right direction. if you could get back to me and try and help me out that would be awesome. I hope to hear from you soon.

    Andrew Wright

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