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.
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.
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.
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?